September 10, 2012
By Audrey Fraizer
Little did a neighbor know what was in store when flagged down during her morning walk on May 21, 2011.
It wasn’t to borrow a cup of sugar.
“I can’t believe we just delivered a baby,” she cried into the phone 15 minutes later to EMD William “Bill” Trimmer, senior telecommunicator, Nash County (N.C.) Emergency Services, 9-1-1 Division. “Oh Lord.”
In the quarter hour drama beginning at 10:36 a.m., a neighbor deftly switched directions to deliver a healthy baby boy on the living room couch in a home she wasn’t the least bit familiar with. She scrambled for towels, a shoelace, and blankets while, at the same time, holding her neighbor’s other child and delivering a baby.
“The neighbor got a little excited when she realized the baby was coming,” Trimmer said. “But other than that, she did a really good job.”
The neighbor wasn’t the only one garnering praise that day.
“The call was one of a kind,” said Mark Reavis, Nash County 9-1-1 Division QA and training officer. “Bill navigated perfectly and the outcome was a live child.”
Although Reavis wasn’t in the room during the call, Trimmer’s immediate supervisor knew a perfect call when he heard one. He rushed the tape back to Reavis’ office and Reavis lost no time critiquing the call using AQUA quality assurance software.
“He scored a perfect 100,” Reavis said. “It’s rare that anyone scores a perfect 100. Bill followed the protocol and each and every instruction verbatim.”
Trimmer is used to scoring on the high side. Overall, the center scored 98.13% for the 1,000 calls Reavis reviewed during the sixmonth period between Jan. 1, 2012, and June 12, 2012. In 2011, Trimmer had inched over the bar, coming in first of 30 full- and parttime division members. His score: 99.66%.
The score is hardly an accident. Reavis holds a four-hour CDE class each month, and it’s a class no one even thinks of skipping or calling in sick to avoid. Trimmer studies the protocols—fire, police, and medical—outside of class like someone on a weight loss diet might count calories.
“It’s all the time,” Trimmer said. “The shift critiques each other’s calls and we practice when we have the time.”
Sometimes, the protocols are so automatic that he finds himself asking the Case Entry and Key Questions when he’s the guy on the other end of the radio responding to incidents while working his parttime firefighting job.
“People deserve the best we can do, and that’s what we give them,” Trimmer said. “We’re ready for their call.”
Fortunately, Trimmer practices all the protocols, and not just the protocols referred to on a more frequent basis. While the division does receive calls requiring Protocol 24: Pregnancy/Childbirth/Miscarriage, it isn’t often a full delivery takes place before paramedics arrive on scene and the May 21 arrival was Trimmer’s first-ever over-the-phone delivery.
Aside from a potentially threatening emergency during delivery—the umbilical cord was wrapped loosely around the baby’s neck but quickly removed—Trimmer said the call went exactly the way anyone would want. And he didn’t ask for a review like he sometimes does to make sure he’s on track.
“Bill does an incredible job,” Reavis said. “I wanted to make sure he was recognized for an outstanding performance.”
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