Dispatch Training Will Provide Fast Response
"911, what's your emergency?" That's about all Audrain County dispatcher Marsha Terrell can say to 911 callers with a medical emergency. In some situations, Terrell would like to do more.
"I feel really bad that we can't help them out because we're just transferring them to the hospital, and they're just saying they have an ambulance coming. And no one's giving them pre-arrival instructions and i really think that would help," commented Terrell.
Tuesday night, Audrain county's emergency services board decided to bring enhanced medical dispatch to the county. Under the new system, a private company will train dispatchers to provide callers with basic medical care.
"If someone's not breathing, we have no idea what to tell them. Right now you know, what to check for, if they've got a pulse," Terrell said.
Dispatchers will also be able to call for medical assistance earlier. A 911 caller can get transferred two to three times before an ambulance is sent out, because answering often delays help for hospital patients.
Debbie Jacobson of the Audrain Medical Center said, "It's a timeliness factor, the ambulance will get to them quicker, the emergency room personnel also won't have to take their information, and they can concentrate on the patients in the emergency department as opposed to the phone."
The medical center says it expects the changes to decrease ambulance response time by five minutes. These three day training sessions for enhanced medical dispatch will cost up to $15,000.