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Posted: 3/13/2006 11:39:32 AM EDT
Please allow me to begin by saying that our county contracts with ETMC (East Texas Medical Center) for EMS coverage.

11:30 p.m., our station is toned out for a structure fire. We get on scene, start taking care of business, and two of our guys are injured. This was a meth lab and the investigation is still in progress, so I won't go into any details there; however I'm nominating this situation for the "WTF of the Year Award."

Command contacts dispatch to advise them that we need EMS...asap. What came out of the radio after that sorta frosted my mini wheats...

"Command, please advise your address."
"Ma'am, we're at the structure fire on xyz road."
"Command, what are the numerics?"
had
Now, who toned us out if they didn't have the address? They themselves had given us some pretty specific instructions on how to get there, and we don't necessarily memorize addresses, esp. when they are on county roads with 5 digits. Our addresses go something like this: '13750 county road 41515'. So, if we tend to put the addy out of our mind once we get on scene, wouldn't that be understandable?

I'm still trying to figure out how they dispatched us if they didn't know where we were.

It was discussed later, and someone tried to attribute the problem to ETMC dispatch. It seems that they won't roll a box until they have a numeric address to enter into their system. That leaves us wondering how they dispatch personnel to mva's on remote stretches of rural highways.

Is it just me, or does there seem to be a problem here? Please tell me that it's not a conspiracy. If I take the little pink pill, will I feel better about it tomorrow?
Link Posted: 3/13/2006 12:22:40 PM EDT
Sounds like you're dispatch system is all jacked up.

The orginal dispatch agency should have been able to pull the "tape" of you're dispatch and directions without ever asking you for the address.

Now if dispatch has the wrong address or location & needed to confirm the address it's understandable. Howevre, it sure sounds like you're Chief needs to have a chat with the dispatch supervisor so this never happens again.
Link Posted: 3/13/2006 12:25:49 PM EDT
Definately dispatcher error on that one.
Link Posted: 3/13/2006 1:11:47 PM EDT
Shoulda told them to look for all the red trucks with flashing lights parked in front of the building on FIRE!
Link Posted: 3/13/2006 5:42:28 PM EDT
Of course, that certainly came to mind...2300 hours, large orange glow on the horizon, lots-o-flashy lights...and just for fun...cans of ether exploding. It coulda passed for a July 4th celebration in NY Harbor. At least the injured personnel came out of it okay.
Link Posted: 3/13/2006 5:46:36 PM EDT
Great dispatch systems.

Sounds like our county system, they dispatch for some many agencies, police, fire, EMS for the whole county they usually dont know their left hand from their right and the left and right hand dont talk much.
Link Posted: 3/13/2006 5:57:34 PM EDT
EMS is automatically dispatched to structure fires with us, strictly for personnel onscene. If there are any civilian injuries then additional units are dispatched.

It sounds like your dispatch is totally FUBAR. We problems similar to yours when we were dispatched by our PD dispatchers.

556mm
Link Posted: 3/13/2006 8:44:41 PM EDT
I don't work for ETMC, but I do work for one of their competitors. It seems as if your dispatch screwed up, as they should have had the numerics already.
As for highways, we simply use mile markers, such as 'MVA on I-20, mile marker 599 Eastbound'
Link Posted: 3/13/2006 9:14:55 PM EDT
isnt it nice to know when shit hits the fan you count on dispatch for help

i know around here dispatch can be sluggish but usualy pretty good!

glad to here the brothers are alright

WGFF
Link Posted: 3/13/2006 9:27:30 PM EDT
I work at dispatch in Evansville, IN

First of all - like 556mm, we automatically dispatch EMS to any working fire.

However, I completely understand the problem here, and sympathize with the dispatchers. We constantly get calls from some lamer who can say "There's a house on fire on John Street 1/2 block east of 1st Ave". With our CAD system, we can dispatch Police or fire to that area.

Dispatching EMS (which is contracted to a private company) can be a little rougher, and they want an exact address. What people don't understand is that yes, they can go to an intersection and see the flashing lights, but their computer system won't always take an intersetion. In one block, it may be split in half as to which EMS crew needs to respond. Therefore, it's not uncommon for us to dispatch police or fire to an area, then have to ask what the exact address is.

When the fire investigator, detective, prosecutor comes back a week later and calls in wanting to know what the address was for the house burned down on John street, they don't want to hear "1st/John". It does them no good. We need an actual address as soon as possible to put into the system so that everything is tied in together.

All that said, I'm not going to ask a fire chief on a scene to give me the exact address - he's busy enough. Typically, I'll ask a responding unit that hasn't arrived yet, or investigator/police unit enroute there to give me the address when they arrive. However, I really don't think it's something to get ticked off about. Just like you (probably) haven't done a dispatch job in a modern center, they (probably) haven't been on scene at a working fire to see what a cluster it can really be. I think leeway needs to be given in both directions.

Just my opinion.
Link Posted: 3/14/2006 5:40:29 AM EDT

Originally Posted By ZootTX:
I don't work for ETMC, but I do work for one of their competitors.



Zoot...Are you one of the guys/gals in the R-E-D ambulances?
Link Posted: 3/14/2006 11:31:12 AM EDT

What people don't understand is that yes, they can go to an intersection and see the flashing lights, but their computer system won't always take an intersetion.


Please accept my apologies if I seem down on dispatchers. I was a police officer in a small town years ago, and we had to rotate on dispatch ocassionally. I realize that it must be quite different now with CAD. What I DO know is that dispatch software is capable of being designed with overrides if someone would simply put the mechanism in place. That way, when a numeric is available, it can be entered. But when the situation warrants personnel on scene, it shouldn't be contingent upon poorly designed dispatch software before anyone will roll.

I also realize that most of the dispatchers in SO are police dispatchers. There is a fundamental difference between police and fire communications. Our county really couild use a quasi-dedicated fire dispatcher during each shift. Of course, they're going to ask where the money is going to come from.
Link Posted: 3/14/2006 8:07:07 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/14/2006 8:07:53 PM EDT by Sagus]

Originally Posted By ScorpionTower:

What people don't understand is that yes, they can go to an intersection and see the flashing lights, but their computer system won't always take an intersetion.


Please accept my apologies if I seem down on dispatchers. I was a police officer in a small town years ago, and we had to rotate on dispatch ocassionally. I realize that it must be quite different now with CAD. What I DO know is that dispatch software is capable of being designed with overrides if someone would simply put the mechanism in place. That way, when a numeric is available, it can be entered. But when the situation warrants personnel on scene, it shouldn't be contingent upon poorly designed dispatch software before anyone will roll.

I also realize that most of the dispatchers in SO are police dispatchers. There is a fundamental difference between police and fire communications. Our county really couild use a quasi-dedicated fire dispatcher during each shift. Of course, they're going to ask where the money is going to come from.



I completely agree with you Scorpion. Unfortunately, while most CAD systems for dispatchers will take an intersection or numerics, if there's an actual address they have to go to, EMS will require the numerics (gotta know where to send the bill I guess). I didn't think you were beating up on dispatchers so much as blowing off some steam. I just know what it's like from the other end - and the frustration dispatchers have of dealing with contracted agencies.

I also fully concur that Police/Sheriff and Fire dispatchers need completely different training, and would do better off with specifically trained dispatchers rather than combined. Unfortunately, like you said, sometimes safety, speed, and/or service are sacrificed for "funding".
Link Posted: 3/15/2006 5:28:06 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/15/2006 5:30:17 AM EDT by ZootTX]

Originally Posted By ScorpionTower:

Originally Posted By ZootTX:
I don't work for ETMC, but I do work for one of their competitors.



Zoot...Are you one of the guys/gals in the R-E-D ambulances?



Maybe
Actually, its closer to maroon, unless there is another ambulance agency in E. Texas I don't know of that runs red trucks.
Don't hold it against me, please
Link Posted: 3/15/2006 10:47:28 AM EDT
Sounds like a call we were at a few years ago... the call went from a "feeling ill" to a domestic, and when we called for PD, dispatch asked us our location....

Yes, they had sent us there, as a result of a 911 call...

And yes, we were the only ambulance from the City out at the time.
Link Posted: 3/15/2006 3:13:17 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Tango7:
Sounds like a call we were at a few years ago... the call went from a "feeling ill" to a domestic, and when we called for PD, dispatch asked us our location....

Yes, they had sent us there, as a result of a 911 call...

And yes, we were the only ambulance from the City out at the time.



My EMS dispatch is pretty bad. They don't pay too well, so they end up with a bunch of kids (nothing against them, I'm still a kid too) without experienced and mature adult supervision. If they get more than 1 911 call coming in at a time, they shit their pants (and we have approx. 30 trucks in service 24/7). Some of them have no sense of space and how to post/move trucks around for the best coverage. I've been sent on 911 calls where another truck has been 10 miles closer and when we tell dispatch we are enroute, but there is a closer unit, they act like we are usurping their authority. HELLO, dispatch is here to facilitate efficient usage of our ambulances, we do not exist to serve them. I've no problem with them telling me where to go, as long as they know what they are doing.
Link Posted: 3/16/2006 6:50:02 PM EDT
Hey, Zoot;
I've been hoping that TMF would get the next contract with our county. All some enterprising and informed individual with the county would have to do is stipulate in the contract that they would dispatch with due diligence and roll a box on every structure fire (something else that I feel needs to be addressed). At least, maybe they would consider a contract for a back-up service. Of course, they say the grass is usually greener on the other side, but I wouldn't mind working with you guys for a change.

Talking about your domestic "experience", one of aqua-green's crews got stuck in the middle of one where the guy came back with a baseball bat after the victim that they were working. The medic hits his SHTF button. Next thing they hear over his hand-held is dispatch asking him if everything is okay. Protocol for the panic button is to immediately contact SO and get a deputy on scene asap. Not try to make contact with the crew. There are just times that you don't want everyone knowing that you just called in the cavalry. Well, Mr. Louisville Slugger was standing less than five feet from the medic when their dispatch interrupted the moment. Fortunately, the guy just left on his own accord. Needless to say, the medic had a very memorable conversation with the dispatcher and her supervisor in Tyler.
Link Posted: 3/17/2006 6:30:18 AM EDT

Originally Posted By ZootTX:
I don't work for ETMC, but I do work for one of their competitors. It seems as if your dispatch screwed up, as they should have had the numerics already.
As for highways, we simply use mile markers, such as 'MVA on I-20, mile marker 599 Eastbound'


You're [obviously] in East Texas, but when I was southbound (Amarillo to Lubbock) a few weeks back, I saw a mile marker that repeated.

It's a trip I make only about once/twice a month, so now I'm really wishing I'd written it down. I think it was something like mm89. I saw it (had just got off the phone and was wanting to re-establish my bearings), then a mile down, saw the *same* number! Was on the phone prior, so I did not see if there was a mile marker skipped before the repeat or not.

Of course, there's the off-chance it could have just been my tired mind, but I don't think so.
Link Posted: 3/17/2006 6:38:15 AM EDT

Originally Posted By ScorpionTower:
Hey, Zoot;
I've been hoping that TMF would get the next contract with our county. All some enterprising and informed individual with the county would have to do is stipulate in the contract that they would dispatch with due diligence and roll a box on every structure fire (something else that I feel needs to be addressed). At least, maybe they would consider a contract for a back-up service. Of course, they say the grass is usually greener on the other side, but I wouldn't mind working with you guys for a change.

<snip>


That is (sort-of) what I was going to suggest. That, in the next RFP, it is stipulated that the winning bid must come from a company who can dispatch to a [general] location ASAFP.

If the winning bidder wanted to negotiate that, they could say that "If the city/county/etc entity doesn't provide a numeric within 'x' [period of time], the bill goes to the city/county/etc."

Whether that will happen, however, is usually a completely different story.
Link Posted: 3/17/2006 10:06:41 AM EDT
Something that I've some to understand is that there is no bill for movement of a medical unit unless there is an actual transport. I'm wondering if they would want to negotiate a surcharge for movement for stand-by on structure fires. If that were to happen, then it's likely that the county would balk at rolling on fires. I don't mind a company wanting to make money...heck, that's what they are in business for. But there's a certain expectation with respect to what sort of business it is. If I'm a mechanic, I'm not expected to jump if someone's alternator is broken; however, there is a certain expectation that needs to be defined in a contract that when you provide the sole EMS coverage for an entire county, you do it with all diligence. Of course, due diligence has to be defined, as well.
Link Posted: 3/17/2006 10:27:35 AM EDT
Here for all structures fires or any call toned out as a structure fire we get a ALS bus. It's SOP to roll one bus non emergent & while they can do PT care if needed there 1st responsiblity is for Firefighter care.

Remember nobody is more important on the fire groound that the 1st responders (ugh, I hate that term)
Link Posted: 3/17/2006 4:57:40 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Shrike9:
Here for all structures fires or any call toned out as a structure fire we get a ALS bus. It's SOP to roll one bus non emergent & while they can do PT care if needed there 1st responsiblity is for Firefighter care.

Remember nobody is more important on the fire groound that the 1st responders (ugh, I hate that term)



Thats how our SOP is........
Hell our guys on the bus pack out and fight fire...............
Link Posted: 3/17/2006 8:15:08 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Dru:
Hell our guys on the bus pack out and fight fire...............



We have a Private ambulance company, no fire fighting for them

Sat thrugh a 3 day TEEX EMS/WMD class and one of the instructors was a P from Metro Dade & he was a great instructor!!!!!!!
Link Posted: 3/18/2006 5:28:17 AM EDT

Originally Posted By ScorpionTower:
Hey, Zoot;
I've been hoping that TMF would get the next contract with our county. All some enterprising and informed individual with the county would have to do is stipulate in the contract that they would dispatch with due diligence and roll a box on every structure fire (something else that I feel needs to be addressed). At least, maybe they would consider a contract for a back-up service. Of course, they say the grass is usually greener on the other side, but I wouldn't mind working with you guys for a change.

Talking about your domestic "experience", one of aqua-green's crews got stuck in the middle of one where the guy came back with a baseball bat after the victim that they were working. The medic hits his SHTF button. Next thing they hear over his hand-held is dispatch asking him if everything is okay. Protocol for the panic button is to immediately contact SO and get a deputy on scene asap. Not try to make contact with the crew. There are just times that you don't want everyone knowing that you just called in the cavalry. Well, Mr. Louisville Slugger was standing less than five feet from the medic when their dispatch interrupted the moment. Fortunately, the guy just left on his own accord. Needless to say, the medic had a very memorable conversation with the dispatcher and her supervisor in Tyler.



Our dispatch sends us to non-specific addresses all the time, so thats not really a problem. As far as sending a truck to every structure fire, they will only take a rig out of service for a fire if its a big one. I think SOP states something like 3 or more different departments on scene. Now generally if we have enough trucks available, and depending on which dispatcher is working, they'll pretty much give a fire a truck anyway.
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