The Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners approved a resolution to implement the third phase of Medical Priority Dispatch at its Jan. 15 meeting. The resolution will be effective June 1.
With Medical Priority Dispatch, a determination is made about the urgency of a call and the appropriate response. This ensures that emergency response vehicles are available for other calls, improving response times to life-threatening emergencies.
Pinellas County Emergency Medical System has followed priority dispatch since 1990, when it adopted the use of emergency medical dispatch guidelines from the National Academies of Emergency Dispatch. Priority dispatch follows a structured protocol to receive 9-1-1 calls and dispatch units
“This system is in use by progressive EMS systems in over 3,000 communities worldwide,” said Bruce Moeller, director of Public Safety Services. “Phase three is a part of our ongoing efforts to assure the highest quality medical care to our residents and visitors.”
During the initial phase, implemented in April 2009, the emergency medical dispatch function was transferred to the 9-1-1 Center. All 9-1-1 operators were certified by the National Academies of Emergency Dispatch as Emergency Medical Dispatchers.
The second phase, implemented in December 2010, involved the assessment of medical emergency 9-1-1 calls to dispatch only fire department units in certain non-emergency situations, when a dual response with multiple emergency vehicles was not appropriate.
With the implementation of the third phase of Medical Priority Dispatch, only an ambulance unit may be dispatched to specified non-emergency medical calls. The dual response from a fire unit and ambulance, as well as lights and sirens, will continue to be used for high-level emergencies.
Each phase has been approved by the Emergency Services Advisory Council and the Medical Control Board.
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