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Ambulance service switching to dispatch codes

Staff writer

Marion County Emergency Medical Service planned to switch Tuesday to using codes instead of descriptions when emergency medical technicians are paged, EMS Director Steve Smith told Marion County Commission on Monday.

Smith announced the change after discussing concerns with the Emergency Dispatches section of this newspaper’s docket page. He said he was concerned with the amount of detail included.

Smith said he was happier when he saw a change after discussing his concerns with newspaper staff, but he decided to go through with the change to the codes anyway.

Commissioner Randy Dallke, who has experience as an emergency worker, said the change might result in a decreased sense of urgency for some calls. It would be easier to get out of bed at 2 a.m. when hearing someone’s heart has stopped than hearing a code like 56-alpha-2, Dallke said.

Ambulance calls up 70 percent in July

Ambulances responded to 128 calls in July. That is an increase of 70.7 percent compared with July 2010.

Smith said fire standbys contributed to that. Sending an ambulance to every fire results in a larger call volume with no additional revenue, he said.

Of the 128 calls, 29 were medical emergencies; no-transports, 28; standbys, 26; transfers, 21; motor-vehicle accidents, 8; cardiac incidents, 7; falls, 6; and canceled calls, 3.

The Hillsboro ambulance was called out 42 times; Marion, 28; Peabody, 28; the back-up unit, 14; Tampa, 10; and Florence, 6.

Goessel and Lincolnville first responders were called out twice each. Durham and Tampa each responded once.

There were 705 total ambulance calls through seven months. There were 612 calls through the first seven months of 2010, when total calls reached 1,039 for the year.

Last modified Aug. 11, 2011

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