Paul Engelen

Best Practices

By Paul Engelen

Three days, three rooms, and three languages might sound like a parody of European travel, but for the 160 people attending Euro NAVIGATOR, it was probably the best packaged three days ever and all while staying in the same place.

Euro NAVIGATOR—held from Wednesday, Sept. 16 through Friday, Sept. 18 in Leiden, South Holland, Netherlands—was the epitome of giving something valuable to every Italian-, Dutch-, and German/Austrian-speaking user of the Priority Dispatch System (PDS). And due to slight cultural nuances in each language-specific version of the fire, medical, and police protocols, the International Academies of Emergency Dispatch (IAED) sponsored three conferences in three rooms in one Dutch city under the same protocol umbrella.

The daily division, however, made no difference to the enthusiastic like-minded audience.

“The days were full with lots of discussions and presentations, and in the evening we took every opportunity to talk with each other while having a good meal and a nice drink,” said Paul Engelen, EMD, ED-Q, IAED Instructor. “It’s really great to talk in so much depth to people who have the same interests.”

The conference opened with everyone gathered in the same room to hear introductory remarks by IAED President Scott Freitag and Leiden Mayor Henri Lenferink, who provided an entertaining welcome and, as a former historian, gave his listeners a brief history of the city. An unexpected surprise was the arrival of IAED Founder Jeff Clawson, M.D., on Wednesday.

An emotion-filled sound clip from a 112 emergency call galvanized the audience and served as the segue for the annual Dispatcher of the Year Award, presented by Harm van de Pas, M.D., Medical Manager, Regional Ambulance Service Brabant Midden-West Nord, Den Bosh, Netherlands, to Sjef Taabe, of the same center.

In an unexpected twist, the grateful recipients of Taabe’s MPDS-driven Pre-Arrival Instructions for the delivery of baby Esmee came on stage.

“It was moving for everyone when Sjef reached out for baby Esmee, softly whispering her name, and had a moment with her and the family,” Engelen said.

In a second presentation, staff from 144 Notruf Lower Austria received the center’s medical re-accreditation award. In 2009, the center became the first medical ACE in continental Europe and has been re-accredited two times since.

Presentations ruled the rest of Wednesday, Thursday, and part of Friday. Events drawing everyone together included a tour of the National Ambulance and First Aid Museum in Leiden and an evening beach party in Katwijk, a coastal town of the North Sea in the South Holland province, both hosted by the Regional Emergency Medical Service Hollands Midden (RAVHM).

“The conference was a success in every way,” Engelen said.