Dynamic Dispatchers

Often described as the first, first responders. Emergency Medical Dispatchers (EMDs) can work long hours, during holidays, and navigate stressful situations to make sure that our patients and our communities needs are met within a moment’s notice. They are the unsung heroes in the chain of EMS that starts with a phone call and can end in a thousand different ways.

The primary duty of an EMD is best described as communications triage. The basic idea is that they collect facts from callers or reports, determine and prioritize the most important information, and relay this information to the correct responders to achieve the best patient outcomes. Sounds easy right? Effective dispatching can take years to master, and even then, ongoing training is needed to ensure the skills, competency, and local EMS agency practices are current.

Prior to the 1970’s there was no little or no training for dispatchers. Dispatchers were basically the evolution of early switchboard operators. In the mid 1970’s the introduction of the three-digit emergency phone number we know as 911 changed everything. After implementation, the value of training operators to become skilled in early triage became evident. Without standardized training available, it was up to local cities to provide instructions to these new dispatchers. The result was that two dispatchers in the same county would provide different responses for a patient with the same complaint. That started to change in 1978 when Dr. Jeff Clawson developed protocols for the Salt Lake City Fire Department which over time would become the foundation of what would later be adopted by the world and known as the Medical Priority Dispatch System.

With multiple computer monitors, radios, and phones dispatchers are excellent multitaskers.

Over the years Covalent Health providers have dispatched well over a million patients. Although we specialize primarily in Interfacility Patient Transports, our dispatchers are EMD certified and can handle any call that comes our way. Some of our calls require responses just as fast, if not faster than 911. We also provide specialty units on site for our customers. We can dispatch a call in under a minute and have a Life Flight or Critical Care unit transporting with blazing speed. Unlike 911 dispatchers who serve one particular region, our dispatch team covers multiple counties and must know the EMS regulations in each county as well as what scope of practice we are licensed to perform there.

Our goal is to provide a safe and caring experience for our patients. Thanks to the experience of the managers in our Communication Centers and our hardworking dispatchers we make this possible around the clock. It’s not always easy and sometimes we need to make the difficult calls, but EMS is about teamwork, and we have a great one! As we close out National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week we celebrate our Dynamic Dispatchers with pride and promise to deliver the goods safely!

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