Fayette 9-1-1 improves its lifeline

Tue, 03/10/2009 - 4:59pm
By: Ben Nelms

Now, operators will help you manage an emergency while medics are still on the way

It is not uncommon for a motorist or passer-by to come across a wreck where the occupants are injured, or for a shopper to witness someone collapsing on the sidewalk outside a store. Many will stop to lend assistance and call 911.

Now in Fayette County, citizens at the scene talking with 911 operators have an enhanced means to render help until emergency responders arrive. It is called the Emergency Medical Dispatch (EMD) Protocol and it was implemented March 6.

Fayette Fire and Emergency Services spokesperson Capt. Pete Nelms said the EMD system will greatly enhance the 911 operators’ ability to give citizens who call 911 for medical emergencies valuable life-saving information through written, proven and established protocols prior to the arrival of emergency medical personnel.

Used for medical emergency calls to the 911 Center, EMD was developed by a physician involved with emergency medicine.

Nineteen communications officers with Fayette 911 recently participated in the three-day comprehensive course that included protocols, principles of operation, instructed practice, EMD quality improvements, dispatch life support and a written test and practicum. The pass rate was 100 percent, Nelms said.

Fayette Director of Public Safety Allen McCullough at the 911 Communications Center March 6 said implementation of the protocol is a matter of both science and art.

“EMD allows us to stay contemporary with the science. And the art is in having talented people in communication with the public to relay the information,” McCullough said, thanking county commissioners for recognizing the importance of implementing the EMD protocol.

“The EMD system will greatly improve the 911 communication officer’s ability to assess the situation and provide timely, accurate and life-saving instructions and information to the layperson at the scene of an emergency. By the implementation of this system and with the involvement of citizens on the scene prior to our arrival, we can improve our ability to save countless lives,” McCullough said.

The first test of the EMD protocol prior to it going live came in January when Fayetteville Water Department employees Karen Austin and Tim Bolton were talking with 911 operator Carmen Rivera after they saw a man collapse in his front yard from a heart attack.

Rivera used the written protocol instructions to help Bolton and Austin provide CPR until emergency responders arrived.

Also at the March 6 event, Fayette County Commission Chairman Jack Smith said Fayette and its cities have always prided themselves on maintaining a high degree of preparation. That preparation is now enhanced with the activation of the EMD protocol, he said.

E-911 Director of Communications Cheryl Rogers said 16 percent of all calls to 911 involve medically-related issues. And that amounts to more calls than many in the community might expect.

In 2008, the center received 52,143 calls from the public via the 911 emergency number and 122,368 calls on the administrative line. But that is not where it ends.

Many other calls come from law enforcement, fire departments and city and county departments. In all, the Communications Center in 2008 received 386,100 contacts. That is 32,175 contacts per month, 1,075.5 per day and 44.7 per hour.

It is within that volume of calls that operators must be able to quickly determine the nature and extent of a problem and respond immediately. Essentially, 911 operators function as the gatekeepers for the community, McCullough said.

The job of a 911 operator is not for the faint-hearted or those prone to panic. The stress sometimes experienced by a caller is something the operator must be able to work with and work through in order to effectively provide assistance. Rogers said an operator must be able to get past the emotions on both sides of the phone in order to help.

“You can’t train an operator to handle every situation, but you train them to be as ready as they possibly can be,” Rogers said, referencing the infinite number of possible scenarios for which no training manual can anticipate.

In all, the EMD protocol is another tool available to operators that provides them with an enhanced ability to help members of the community who call the 911 Center.

“The message to citizens is, when you see something, call 911. We’ll give you instructions on what to do until help arrives,” McCullough said. “Fayette County EMS maintains one of the highest successful resuscitation rates in the nation, and the addition of EMD at the 911 Center will help our team save even more lives.”

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Submitted by mysteryman on Wed, 03/25/2009 - 9:37pm.


Submitted by mysteryman on Fri, 03/20/2009 - 8:17pm.


Submitted by mysteryman on Wed, 03/11/2009 - 7:50pm.

Yes i think im having a heart attack...

991- Ok sir what seems to be the problem...

Well my ---- is erect an wont go back down, my right arm is sore, and my chest hurts, and my vision is blurred..

991 Ok sir are you on any medication..

Uh yeah i take these blue pills, right before bed time, and my girlfriend sprayed me with some marijuana scented cologne...

991 Ok sir do you have any asprin in the house...


Submitted by mysteryman on Sun, 03/15/2009 - 2:32pm.


991 Ok sir i am going to dispatch help to your location, unfortunately we have to call everyone in because we closed all the fire stations due to the economy, now everyone is on call, and we eliminated the take home car program for fire and police.

What are you kidding...

991 Sir i just work here but hey look at it this way... As Dominoes would say..."Hey you got 30 min."

Nice, i think im going to pass out...

991 Sir stay with me now, do you have any drop cords in the house???


991 Ok sir cut one end off the drop cord....


991 Have you done that sir???

Ye Ye YES...

991 OK go ahead and plug the drop cord in sir...


991 Ok now if you feel like you are going to pass out, i want you to hit yourself in the chest with the cut end of the drop cord...


991 Yes this should keep you from passing out until we round up some help to send to you...

ZZZZZZZZZZZZ {sound of eletric shock} Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!

991 Sir are you still with me????

Yes i think so....

991 Ok i call you back as soon as they are on their way....

What the ----

991 Click....

Submitted by mysteryman on Sun, 03/15/2009 - 5:57pm.

Let us hope not....BLESS

Gene61's picture
Submitted by Gene61 on Wed, 03/11/2009 - 3:05am.

Anyone care to wager how long it will take for someone to make a mistake giving or recving instructions, then the lawsuits will fly.

I just know human nature, hope this sparks some debate.

Save the county, don't worry about the thugs.

Submitted by mysteryman on Tue, 03/10/2009 - 7:28pm.

With the coming crime wave... Im sure they are gonna be busy.. Please do not resuscitate the thugs after they have been popped and droped though....Bless

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