Perspectives

Artificial Intelligence for us?

Have you ever wondered how Netflix knows what movies to recommend for you—or realized that if it is suggesting kids’ movies, that means someone else in the house must have been using your account? It turns out that this sort of technology, which relies on what is called “big data,” is also useful for calltaking and emergency response. Consider the size of the data that we collectively work with. Based on some available information, if there were global coverage of emergency numbers, there...

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Challenges in Utilization of Statistical Analysis Software in Emergency Dispatch Data Analysis and Advances in Data and Technologies

Emergency dispatch and emergency medical services (EMS) data keeps increasing every day—in quality, volume, and dimensionality. An Emergency Medical Dispatcher (EMD) at an emergency communication center is the primary link between the public caller requesting emergency medical assistance and EMS. Data collection starts when the EMD receives the call and ends when the patient is either treated on scene or admitted to the hospital. The data collected is mostly structured data containing both...

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FBI National Data Exchange System’s On-Line Tool Enhances Dispatching by Law Enforcement Agencies throughout the US

The traffic stop began like any other. The officer radioed to dispatch with the license plate number and a National Crime Information Center (NCIC) search was conducted. The search turned up negative – showing nothing unusual about the vehicle or its owner – and the officer started a routine approach to the vehicle. The dispatcher then searched the license plate number through the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) newest System, the National Data Exchange (N-DEx). for short. Moments...

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Close Collaboration Between Public Health and Emergency Services Agencies Leads to an Effective Ebola Response in North America

911 agencies, Emergency medical services (EMS), and first responder agencies  play a critical role in major disease outbreaks because they are a gateway to the overall healthcare system for a wide spectrum of patients who use 911 as their first point of access. For those patients, emergency dispatchers and emergency prehospital responders are the first professionals to communicate with, treat, and provide hospital transport for, patients who are infected with communicable diseases. Public...

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Why Evidence-Based Decision-Making Matters

One of my former mentors, Deputy Chief (Ret.) Jim Graham of the Chesterfield County (VA) Fire and EMS Department, was a huge proponent of the use of information, whether on a fireground operation, developing a new training program, or addressing budget reductions.  One of his favorite sayings—one that stays with me to this day—was “We must constantly strive to become better at data-driven decision making, instead of following the ‘I think, I feel, or I believe’ model.” However, he usually...

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Research and the Realities of Police Dispatch

The reality of police dispatching is that there is nothing routine.  Police calls change frequently simply due to the type of business.  A perceived cold call of “breaking and entering” into a property can quickly turn into an in-progress ”robbery” when it is discovered that a suspect is on the scene and has a weapon.  A report of an “assault” can quickly turn into an “active assailant (shooter)” situation, one of the most dangerous and complex types of incidents.  The constantly-changing...

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