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By Journal Staff

The International Academies of Emergency Dispatch (IAED) is pleased to announce the release of Version 6.0 of the Fire Priority Dispatch System (FPDS), a comprehensive upgrade of the dedicated fire dispatch protocols.

FPDS v6.0 was developed by the IAED with the field fire expertise of FPDS users; it reflects current and evolving fire science and standards. Version 6.0 gives emergency fire dispatchers (EFDs) the ability to provide lifesaving Pre-Arrival Instructions (PAIs) and Post-Dispatch Instructions (PDIs) covering 26 Chief Complaints, an increase of two protocols since the release of FPDS v5.0 in 2009.

New Chief Complaints highlight Motor Vehicle Collision, Suspicious Package (Letter, Item), and Bomb Threat.

Water plays a big, new role in v6.0—sinking vehicles, vehicles caught in floodwater, and structure fires on or near water. The Water Rescue Post-Dispatch Instruction was expanded to include flooding that results in structural collapse or passengers in vehicles trapped by rising water.

There’s also language specific to emergency dispatch centers using watercraft in response to emergencies along coastal areas or to facilities built on harbors and for the direct dispatching of lifeguards stationed on beaches (Surf Rescue).

“Lifeguards in observation towers are everywhere on beaches,” PDC™ Fire Consultant Jay Dornseif said. If someone is drowning or in trouble a hundred yards from where the lifeguard is stationed, Dornseif explained, response time can be significantly reduced because he or she can react almost as soon as if the person were right in front of the guard post.

Other improvements include PDIs for caller in danger–not trapped during Case Entry Questions, Determinant Suffixes to delineate response and safety in fuel spills, and PDIs for chemical suicide in Protocol 61: HAZMAT.

“Chemical suicide is a HAZMAT situation because whatever the person has mixed together is going to be toxic and perhaps lethal to anyone who happens to be nearby,” Dornseif said. “[Chemical suicide] isn’t common, but it’s always going to be a dangerous incident. Unfortunately, recipes are easily found on the Web.”

A noteworthy endorsement of the standards and practices contained in v6.0 comes from the Insurance Standards Organization (ISO) through its national program rating community fire departments. The ISO’s Public Protection Classification Services gauges the fire protection capability of the local fire department to respond to structure fires.

“That affects basically everyone, not just dispatch centers,” Dornseif said.

For example, ISO ratings are important in the formulation of insurance quotes, although the weight can vary from company to company and often includes factors such as homeowner fire prevention and actions fire departments take to reduce risks.

FPDS v6.0 operates on the ProQA Paramount platform that facilitates response based on caller feedback and coordinates data flow across applications, among other features. New to Paramount are several functions designed to group answers to ProQA questions based on general meaning to streamline the calltaking and dispatch process.

Since FPDS version 1.0 was released in July 2000, more than 400 agencies have incorporated the protocol into their current standard of dispatch care and practice. The IAED is responsible for updating and maintaining the fire, police, and medical protocol dispatch systems.