Situational awareness (SA, also called
situation awareness) is the ability to take in
relevant information about an event in order to
understand it and take effective action.
Maintaining effective SA as an emergency
medical dispatcher (EMD) may be more
difficult than in other, similarly complex roles
because of the remote nature of an
emergency call for help.
Sick Person (Specific Diagnosis) is one of the
most commonly used Chief Complaint Protocols
in the Medical Priority Dispatch System (MPDS).
This protocol is often used when a caller does not
report any specific or high-priority symptoms. Of
particular concern is the 26-ALPHA-1 determinant
code, which refers to a person with “No priority
symptoms” and none of the specific symptoms
listed on the ALPHA-code drop-down list (Fig. 1).
Despite long-standing calls for consistent
training practices, very little is known about
the methods used in emergency dispatcher
training, their relative efficacy, or the topics or
Cardiovascular disease remains the most common cause
of death worldwide, with ischemic heart disease (IHD)
causing nearly nine million deaths per year. Coronary heart
disease (CHD) is estimated to cause about one-third of
all deaths in people over 35 years old, and the incidence
of CHD is expected to continue to rise. Acute myocardial
infarctions (AMIs)—heart attacks—represent a significant
portion of this overall CHD mortality, with approximately
620,000 Americans suffering a first heart attack, and
295,000 suffering a repeat event, each year.
Identification of persons based on verbal descriptions
is one of the key skills of police work. This includes
identifying suspects, but also locating missing persons,
identifying a person needing help in a public assist call, or
finding and helping a person who is threatening suicide.
Correct identification can lead to reduced loss of life,
reunions of missing persons with their loved ones, and
apprehension of suspects, while incorrect identification
can have terrible unintended consequences for both
officers and civilians.
Traffic incidents (collisions and crashes) are among the
most common call types handled by Emergency
Communication Centers (ECCs). They are also among the
most complex call types because they represent such
a range of possible situations. These can range from
“fender benders” with no injuries and little or no property
damage—in which case a single law enforcement officer
might be an appropriate response—to mass-casualty
events involving trains, buses, or other large, multipassenger vehicles.
Since our last issue was released in early January 2021, we have moved into a new stage of the COVID-19 pandemic—one of great promise, but also new dangers. It has been said by numerous epidemiological experts that we are now in a race to vaccinate enough of the population to stem the disease spread, before new and more potent virus variants threaten to ravage the world. Weathering more than a year of this pandemic makes it truly remarkable that so many dispatch agencies continue to perform at...
As we begin a new year and close the books on 2020, uncertainty, disruption, and stressful conditions continue all around us. Public safety and public health services have been pushed to their extremes throughout much of the last year. The fallout from this extended effort, with all its accompanying tension and strain, will surely be studied for years to come. Yet even before this current crisis existed, emergency telecommunicators faced many challenges. In this issue, two groups of...
Caller-party type may determine the accuracy of the information collected by the EMD. Has this distribution changed in the past decade? Are EMD’s gathering more accurate information? And why is the caller party dynamic changing? The objective is to retrospectively look at the distribution of the caller-party type in a mostly urban/suburban, high performance EMS system. ProQA data from 2004 to 2017 was extracted and evaluated to identify any trends. This was a retrospective, descriptive, and uncontrolled study of de-identified medical dispatch data, collected using ProQA data from an...
So far, it's been a year like no other—and that has been especially true for emergency dispatch agencies and the responders for which they dispatch. While the COVID-19 outbreak is far from over, it appears that emergency services and public safety agencies have adjusted to our new normal quite effectively—albeit still with much uncertainty about the future. In coming issues, we expect to publish more on the pandemic as new research is completed and more cases of interest become available. However, for now, we are temporarily setting...