Worth the Wait
April 21, 2022
Dispatch in Action
It was 10 years in the making but well worth the wait considering how relatively few EMDs make it through Protocol 24 PAIs—shoelace and all—once let alone twice.
Protocol 24 covers Pregnancy/Childbirth/Miscarriage. While an EMD will commence PAIs once a caller confirms an imminent birth, the ambulance dispatched generally arrives before the baby. There goes the satisfaction of making it through an entire delivery.
William “Bill” Trimmer, EMD, Supervisor, Nash County (North Carolina, USA) Emergency Services, 9-1-1 Division, was lucky twice. A recent call on Jan. 3, 2022, came from a third-party caller reporting stomach pains her daughter was experiencing. The daughter was six months pregnant and home alone in an “absolutely nowhere” rural section of Nash County, Trimmer said. The mother gave Trimmer the daughter’s phone number. If the baby was delivering, the mother would be unable to cover the 12-mile difference between homes soon enough. The ambulance that responded arrived within 13 minutes.
Trimmer called the daughter. This was no stomachache. She was in hard labor. He flipped to first-party instructions. The mom-to-be was understandably anxious. The baby wasn’t due for another three months.
But as perfect timing will have it, the father-to-be walked in the house as Trimmer was starting PAIs. “He was great,” Trimmer said. “He took right over.” The baby delivered. Dad tied the cord and had the baby boy wrapped in a blanket and ready to go by the time the ambulance arrived.
Trimmer’s first experience using Protocol 24 was 10 years ago, on May 21, 2011. The call came from a woman who was flagged down during her morning walk and, per Trimmer’s instructions, scrambled for towels, a shoelace, and blankets while delivering the neighbor’s baby and holding her neighbor’s other child.
Both were unique situations and Trimmer handled them incredibly well, said Mark Reavis, Nash County 9-1-1 Division QA and training officer. “I have nothing but good things to say about Bill. He is genuine and truly wants to help people.”
Reavis has reviewed thousands of calls during his years in QA and training. He’s been around emergency communications nearly 30 years with 25 of those years in Nash County. He knows a good call when he hears one, and like most of Trimmer’s calls, both Protocol 24 calls were scored through AQUA® as high compliance. “He’s always going above and beyond what’s expected,” Reavis said.
At the start of his now 14-year career, Trimmer said he was surprised at just how many 911 calls there were to answer. He was a volunteer and full-time firefighter in Nash County for 16 years before applying to emergency communications. “I didn’t expect to help more people here than I did in the fire service,” Trimmer said, who still works part time in firefighting. “Whenever you pick up the phone, you’re helping someone and, most often, you’re helping somebody several times a day.”
As a supervisor, Trimmer manages the shift activities and does all he can to encourage the profession. He mentors new hires and teaches at the 911 Academy offered at Nash Community College and co-sponsored by Nash County Emergency Services. Reavis and other emergency services staff and Nash Community College collaborated to develop the program, and during the past five years of operation, the program has been very successful.
“It was a way of recruitment and very successful in accomplishing that,” Reavis said. Not only Nash County benefits, but also neighboring counties hiring for their centers.
The story wouldn’t be complete without Reavis’ take on the trait that keeps people from moving on. Empathy, Reavis said. “When you lose your empathy, it’s time you find something else to do,” he said. “People aren't calling to wish you a happy birthday. They’re calling at their darkest time.”