What is EMD?
Medical Emergencies are some of the most serious calls taken in the dispatch center. Time is often critical. What happens in the time the caller dials 9-1-1 until an ambulance arrives on scene can mean the difference between life and death for a patient. Emergency Medical Dispatch (EMD) is the bridge for the caller between their 9-1-1 phone call and the arrival of on-scene responders.
RRRDC uses “The National Academy EMD Protocol Medical Priority Dispatch System”. In following these EMD protocols we ensure that all dispatchers effectively evaluate the medical situation by following a questioning protocol. This questioning protocol allows the dispatcher to send the appropriate resource which provides better care for the patient and safety for those who are responding. EMD also provides life saving instructions, whether it is giving simple airway maintenance instruction, controlling bleeding, delivering a baby or CPR instruction.
The history of EMD
The first recorded EMD call was in 1974 in Phoenix Arizona. A paramedic was able to successfully deliver CPR instructions to the family of a child who drowned in a swimming pool. By 1978, the Medical Priority Company had produced a product for dispatchers to follow to give medical instructions. It was not until 1989 that EMD was formally recognized as an integral component of emergency medical services. In the 1990’s EMD really came of age; The television show “Rescue 911” raised the public expectation of 9-1-1 and what type of care would be provided when they call.
Is there any special training a dispatcher needs in order to be an EMD?
Before any dispatcher is allowed to take medical calls at RRRDC, that dispatcher must attend a certification course and become CPR certified. The course consists of 24 hours of classroom and practical training. Once the dispatcher is EMD certified, they need to complete an additional 24 hours of training every 2 years and maintain their CPR certification in order to maintain their EMD certification.
How do I know if it is a medical emergency and I should dial 9-1-1?
The signs and symptoms of a medical emergency can be vague or unusual. If you THINK you or someone you know is experiencing a medical emergency call 9-1-1 immediately. You should never be afraid to dial 9-1-1 just because you are unsure if a real emergency exists. Do not hesitate to dial 9-1-1 and let the dispatcher help you in times of confusion or doubt.