Emergency Dispatchers Pull No Stops in Assisting Callers
By Audrey Fraizer, Managing Editor Journal of Emergency Dispatch, International Academies of Emergency Dispatch
Education and assimilation into the emergency dispatch system rooted around the world are focal points of the seven NAVIGATOR conferences sponsored by the International Academies of Emergency Dispatch® (IAEDTM). But the even bigger draw, the one commanding possibly the uppermost amount of attention, is the Dispatcher of the Year recipient announced in the Opening Sessions of each conference.
“This is the award that exemplifies what Dr. [Jeff] Clawson set out to achieve nearly 40 years ago,” said Jerry Overton, IAED President. “This is the emergency dispatcher whose personal actions best illustrates the intent of the IAED process.”
The choice is never easy, considering the calibre of nominations submitted to the IAED and the emergency calls the agency sends in as part of the packet. The award, however, is not based on a single call, although it can weigh heavily in the final selection.
After all, this is not an award for the “Call of the Year,” said Greg Scott, IAED Operations Research Analyst. “This is about the emergency dispatcher who has achieved excellence in their quality of work and attitude.”
The Awards Committee invests considerable effort in choosing the recipients. A call for nominations goes out six months preceding the respective NAVIGATOR, and once closed—at two months prior to the scheduled conference—the packets are distributed to the IAED Awards Committee for Review. Names of the nominees, however, are withheld to prevent partiality.
IAED Board of Certification Chair Pam Stewart said the committee looks at the “totality of the candidate’s involvement with their agency,” but that’s just for starters.
“We look for the emergency dispatcher who exemplifies everything the IAED strives to teach and emulate to the public safety world: that of a compliant, passionate, compassionate, and dedicated professional,” Stewart said. “We look for the person that plays a large role in the success of their agency, and the Academy, through their efforts, ability, and commitment.”
Their dedication is often cited as inspiring and supporting the performance of others, so it makes sense that each recipient always points to this major factor during his or her acceptance of the award.
“I couldn’t have done it without my partners,” said Dispatcher of the Year [US NAVIGATOR 2017] EMD Erin Berry, Loveland Police emergency communications, Loveland, Colorado, USA.
Berry was honored for professional excellence exemplified by her lifesaving efforts during a call that led to the revival of a high school student.
Now, the drum roll, if you will, for the Dispatchers of the Year from the Academy’s most recent International NAVIGATORS: EURO (Sept. 12–14, 2017,Torino, Italy), UK (Sept. 18–20, 2017, Cardiff, Wales), and China (Oct. 12–13,Tianjin, China).
Christine Waegli, Manager, Ticino Rescue Center 144,Ticino, Italy, correlates the actions of EMD Fabio Di Vita to that of a warrior.
“Always ready to face any battle and adversity, he never pulls back in front of any conflict,” according to the nomination. “He is always ready to fight.”
Di Vita, who has been with the center since 2000, is credited with his precision and command with the medical ProQA® software and his willingness to lead the charge in protocol compliance.
But he’s far more than just a common warrior, according to Ticino Rescue Director Sandro Muschietti, affirming Waegli’s analogy.
“He has the ability to give maximum weight when it counts, especially in more complex situations,” Muschietti states in the nomination. “He has the ability to lead both the group and the caller toward set goals. Behind this armor there is a great person, very sensitive, with the ability to be there at the time of need, to make a difference.”
The call submitted with Di Vita’s nomination demonstrated his efficiency in using ProQA to help the caller resuscitate her sister-in-law. Di Vita counted compressions, encouraging her throughout the call to continue compressions until the ambulance arrived on scene.
“Push hard. You are doing great. 1…2…3…4…1…2…3…4… Tell me when the fire department arrives, but don’t stop until they are right there and take your place. Keep doing it. Good job! 1…2…3…4…1…2…3…4…”
Taryne Davey, Yorkshire Ambulance Service (YAS), NHS Trust, Bradford, West Yorkshire, UK, exemplifies the “fantastic EMD” standout qualities in customer service and through the positive influence he has on the YAS communication center.
“He has the ability to lift the mood in the room; this is because he is always willing and happy to help any colleague who may need assistance,” said Will Colam-Ainsworth, YAS Locality Manager, who nominated Davey for the award. “This enthusiasm is also matched when he takes emergency calls regardless of what the situation is.”
One of the two calls submitted demonstrated just how tough emergency dispatch can be and the cool head it takes to assist.
A 24-year-old female in labor was having contractions less than two minutes apart, but it wasn’t until Davey provided the Medical Priority Dispatch System TM Pre- Arrival Instructions (PAIs) for Childbirth and Delivery that the baby’s head started to present. When the head did present, the caller reported that the cord was wrapped around the baby’s neck, and the baby’s skin was purple. Upon full delivery, the baby was not breathing. Davey gave instructions to remove the cord from around the neck, and following this, the baby then started to breathe, and the color returned to normal.
“All throughout this call his customer service was to such a high standard, even though it was a distressing call and there where many things happening at once,” the nomination read. “For anyone listening in the room they would have never guessed what kind of job it was.”
EMD Huang Yini is resourceful, knowledgeable, and diligent in her approach to the Medical Priority Dispatch System (MPDS®) and its application among all emergency dispatchers at the Ganzhou Medical Emergency Center, Ganzhou, Jiangxi Province, China.
And it shows through two calls submitted as part of her nomination packet: one in which she gave PAIs for CPR and one in which she gave PAIs for Childbirth and Delivery.
A caller reported a male down on the ground, and—after dispatching the ambulance—Huang immediately proceeded to PAIs for ProQA. A malfunction, however, did not give Huang pause. She quickly switched to the cardset, asked the caller to verify breathing, and proceeded to give CPR PAIs. The patient was breathing normally by the time paramedics arrived on scene. The man survived.
This time it was a call reporting a woman in labor. Huang soothed the caller, sent the ambulance, and opened ProQA. Using the Childbirth and Delivery PAIs, she guided the caller through entire delivery, from positioning the mother to tying the umbilical cord. The mom and dad were so impressed with their healthy baby upon delivery, Huang had to convince them it was still important to accept transport to the hospital.
The calls, according to the nomination, demonstrated Huang’s ability to “give precise instructions” and to “give comfort” to anxious callers at every point.
Huang is the agency “Q,” and studies MPDS in depth.
“The two cases reflect the superiority of MPDS in pre-hospital emergency,” according to the nomination, “which also demonstrated proficiency and high compliance of our dispatcher in using MPDS.”