Posted in Training

Emergency Medical Dispatch

I’m nearing the end of my academy training cycle, which is pretty exciting. This week I’m working with one of our senior trainers and a colleague who started on the same day as me. We haven’t seen each other too much since our first week as we were paired with different trainers on different shifts and have each had at least two trainers now (with accompanying shift changes). It’ll be good to get a little more collaborative in our learning process.

We’re also getting ready for our EMD course next week. I’m stoked because I find the medical side of dispatch to be fascinating and it’s one of those areas where you’re almost certainly helping someone each time they call. Many police calls are about nuisances rather than emergencies and many (MANY) fire calls are alarms going off, usually without a fire.

If someone calls for medical help, though, they almost always need it, whether it’s a 78 year-old fall patient who can’t get off the floor or the mother whose newborn is having a febrile seizure. Sure, there are some people who call for medical help because they want a ride to the hospital or at least an hour in an air conditioned aid car and they have nowhere else to go. Some want to try to get some drugs or a bed for the night. Some are just afraid and their bodies amplify that into a panic attack. I haven’t even taken a single call yet and I’ve heard all of these already.

Most people who call 911 for medical assistance, however, have a genuine need.

Preparatory to our class next week, I had to take a bunch of online classes and this has been fascinating. Learning the criteria for what constitutes a call for Basic Life Support (your EMTs and firefighters, usually) to Advanced Life Support (paramedics) and how we differentiate those is quite interesting. I’ve enjoyed these classes a great deal and can’t wait to apply some of that this week.

Also, my trainer hinted that we would actually take some calls this week. They won’t be fire or medical as we haven’t passed our fire academy tests yet. Instead, they’ll be non-emergency calls, which can range from noise complaints, cars broken into overnight, and civil calls. Still, they’ll be my first calls! I appreciate that our agency eases trainees into things. There are some things into which you can dive headfirst, but public safety really isn’t one of those.

Getting closer to the end of my initial training is exciting, but I know call receiver training will be much more intense. First things first…gotta get through emergency medical dispatch!


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