Priority Dispatch

Beginning in Scott County January 2, 2018!

Who will be affected?

All residents of Scott County who utilize the 911 system to call for Emergency Medical Services will be affected by this policy change.

What is Priority Dispatch?

Medical Priority Dispatch System

The Medical Priority Dispatch System (MPDS) is a unified system used to dispatch appropriate aid to medical emergencies. The MPDS has been in use in the United States and abroad for over 35 years with frequent and substantial updates. The American College of Emergency Physicians, National Association of EMT Physicians, American Society for Testing and Materials and National Institutes of Health gave all recognized this system as an appropriate intervention. The MPDS has been established as a mandatory practice in many states and provinces in the United States, Canada and around the world. Since 1988, the MPDS has been regulated by the International Academies of Emergency Dispatch (IAED).¹

Emergency Medical Dispatch

A large component of this system is Emergency Medical Dispatch (EMD). EMD is a systematic program of handling medical calls utilizing computer based software and/or card sets. Using these protocols, our trained dispatchers quickly and properly determine the nature and priority of the call in order to dispatch the appropriate response. While the appropriate response is enroute, EMD Protocols allow the dispatcher to give the caller specific instructions to help treat the patient until the responding EMS unit arrives.

In Scott County, MEDIC EMS has been using the EMD Protocols since 1996. All dispatchers who work on this system are certified by the International Academies of Emergency Dispatch. In addition to the certification training course for emergency dispatchers, each dispatcher must re-certify every two years, completing 24 hours of continuing education and an exam administered by the IAED.

Quality Improvement

Proactive quality improvement (QI) benchmarks are an important part of the Priority Dispatch System (PDS). Use of the PDS allows our communications centers to assess the quality of the care we are providing our communities, allowing us to make positive adjustments to training and staff in response to those assessments.

In 2011, the communications division of MEDIC EMS (MED-COM) was accredited as an “ACE” Center of Excellence by the IAED. This distinction is awarded to centers who share a common goal of improving public care and maximizing the efficiency of 911 systems.

The implementation of the Priority Dispatch Systems will help provide the highest standard of care to the community, allowing our dispatchers to better manage limited resources and increase the accuracy and efficiency of the dispatching process.

¹ Priority Dispatch (n.d.). About Priority Dispatch. Retrieved from https://prioritydispatch.net/about/

What changes will I see?

“In the past, no matter what the nature of the emergency, the policy has been to send both a fire truck and ambulance with lights and sirens to every call, regardless of need. Now, SECC and MEDIC dispatchers can accurately assess the appropriate response. For emergencies or unknown situations, rest assured we will send responders with lights and sirens, but if injuries or property damage is minimal, we’ll make the call on the safest way to address the situation.” – Linda Frederiksen, Executive Director, MEDIC EMS

“The new Medical Priority Dispatching System helps ensure that no matter what the emergency, the appropriate police, fire, and medical resources are dispatched in the safest manner possible, so that those who need us receive immediate and appropriate aid as well as to ensure first-responders also arrive on the scene safely.” – Denise Pavlik, Director, SECC

When Scott County citizens call 911, Scott Emergency Communications Center (SECC) and MEDIC EMS dispatchers will partner in using the Medical Priority Dispatch System (MPDS) protocols to safely prioritize medical calls for the most appropriate EMS response. Representatives from MEDIC EMS, SECC, area fire departments and municipalities have worked diligently to determine the type of response for each EMD determinant. For example, a caller reporting a patient with chest pain will receive a lights and sirens response, while a caller reporting a fall may receive a non-lights and sirens response, based on the information given to our dispatchers by the caller.

Why is this necessary?

Accidents involving emergency vehicles are a national concern. In a 2014 report¹, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimated that from 1992-2011:

  • There were an average of 4,500 accidents involving ambulances each year.

    • An average of 2,600 people were injured in an average of 1,500 accidents involving an ambulance each year.
  • Of these accidents, an average of 59% occurred while the ambulance was in emergency use.

    • An average of 29 fatal ambulance accidents produced 33 fatalities each year.
  • Of these accidents, an average of 58% occurred while the ambulance was in emergency use.

Utilizing the Priority Dispatch System will allow Scott County agencies to reduce the number of calls we use our lights and sirens for, reducing the risk of being involved in a potentially fatal accident.

¹ The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Ground Ambulance Crashes (April 2014). Retrieved from: https://www.ems.gov/pdf/GroundAmbulanceCrashesPresentation.pdf

Additional Resources

International Academies of Emergency Dispatch: http://www.emergencydispatch.org/
Priority Dispatch: https://prioritydispatch.net

Video Links

MPDS in Lubbock, TX

MEDIC EMS
ACE Accredited

Since 2011

Partner Agencies

Bettendorf Fire Department
Blue Grass Volunteer Fire Department
Buffalo Volunteer Fire Department
Davenport Fire Department
Dixon Volunteer Fire Department
Donahue Volunteer Fire Department
Durant Volunteer Fire Department
Eldridge Volunteer Fire Department
LeClaire Volunteer Fire Department
Long Grove Volunteer Fire Department

Maysville Volunteer Fire Department
McCausland Volunteer Fire Department
New Liberty Volunteer Fire Department
Princeton Volunteer Fire Department
Riverdale Volunteer Fire Department
Walcott Volunteer Fire Department

Bennett Ambualance
Durant Ambulance
Wheatland Ambulance

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