• Last modified 1673 days ago (Jan. 22, 2015)


Emergency workers told to tell dispatchers if unavailable

Staff writer

No concrete policy was put in place, but EMS Director Brandy McCarty has taken steps to reverse a problem that’s been slowing emergency response times throughout the county.

The failure of emergency service employees to make known their lack of availability to the sheriff’s dispatcher, who orchestrates emergency runs throughout the county, has been a topic of discussion in recent county commission meetings.

Commissioners have told McCarty to figure out a better way to communicate to dispatch.

At last week’s commission meeting, Sheriff Robert Craft and Communications Administrator Linda Klenda attended the meeting to provide input on what they thought would be an effective system.

McCarty suggested having EMTs inform dispatch when they’re “10-8,” or in service. Craft rebuffed that dispatch just needs to know when responders are unavailable, contradictory to the schedules EMS provides dispatch every month.

EMS provides schedules for each of its separate departments, and the schedules have been formatted differently. McCarty said Monday she created a uniform schedule she believed all departments could use.

She told commissioners at Monday’s meeting that she reminded her employees to inform dispatch when they’re unavailable, meaning more than 5 minutes from accessing emergency vehicles.

Dispatch, in return, will provide a monthly report to EMS regarding which units were not available despite the schedules saying they should be.

This report, as described in the meeting, would only provide examples of units who failed to respond to calls when listed as available. If units listed as available don’t get called, dispatch would have no way of knowing whether they were prepared to make runs, unless the EMTs notified the dispatcher beforehand.

Also at the commission meeting, McCarty said she was taking a class to become a certified CPR instructor.

McCarty explained to commissioners that a small claims case in which EMS was trying to collect unpaid medical bills could not use the “theft of services” designation because the individual did need the services when they were administered.

Commissioners wrote off a total of $2,194.28 in unpaid bills from four patients because the patients were deceased or the bills were otherwise uncollectable.

Last modified Jan. 22, 2015