You Make Me Promises, Promises

Heather Darata

Heather Darata

Best Practices

Heather Darata

About a decade after EMD came on the scene, the Orlando (Florida, USA) Fire Department implemented EMD.

Then, in September 1990, an article written by Lt. Kathy Keene from the Orlando FD appeared in Emergency Medical Services investigating whether EMD lives up to its promises—is the cost of implementing EMD justified by the “saves”?

Lt. Keene reviews the Orlando Fire Department’s goals regarding EMD and two surveys created to see how these goals were being met.

Goal 1: To enhance patient care by achieving a “zero-minute response time”

Goal 2: To reduce dispatcher and field personnel stress

Goal 3: To increase professionalism and cooperation between dispatch and field units

Goal 4: To increase department efficiency by using BLS units for BLS calls

One survey was sent to 25 area dispatchers who were EMD course graduates. Seventeen surveys were completed and returned.

The survey assessing dispatchers’ views found that EMD works for dispatchers. Results were particularly high (80 percent or higher) when it came to the effectiveness of repetitive persistence, providing pre-arrival instructions, callers eagerly following PAIs, EMD procedures enhancing patient care, and EMD procedures allowing for better utilization of EMDs’ training and education.

Another survey was sent to 140 field personnel. Fifty-eight surveys were completed and returned.

The survey assessing field personnel found four points that rang truer (60 percent or higher) than others: EMD procedures increased the reliability of the dispatch information provided, benefits would come from dispatchers spending time in the field and field personnel spending time in dispatch, dispatch was more cooperative with EMD in place (some respondents said dispatch had always been cooperative), and EMD procedures enhanced patient care.

Lt. Keene points out in her article that EMD creates a circle of communication, provides a continuum of patient care, and influences agency employees in positive ways (feeling better about their jobs and knowing patients are receiving better care).

As she points out, “EMD has set up a win-win-win-win situation. Everyone–the caller, dispatcher, field personnel, and patient—benefits.”

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