Impatient Dispatchers

ffemt8978

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I just got back from a call for a 5yoM C/C "Nosebleed that wouldn't stop". We get there, and as we're getting out of the ambulance, we're told that the nosebleed has now stopped. We went in, spoke with the family, assessed the kid and got a refusal signed.

The part that I want to discuss with the group is how we were paged out. We received 3 pages over a 5 minute period, and each time the dispatcher sounded more exasperated that we hadn't responded yet. Most of us don't take radios home, and almost all of us live over 5 minutes away from the station. We are supposed to be paged out every 5 minutes until somebody responds on the radio that we've received the page.

I would just like to know how you deal with impatient dispatchers, if you have them.
 

Chimpie

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Basically the dispatcher broke protocol. Unless the type of run needed to be toned out more than once in a five minute period because of the severity (ex: plane crash vs nose bleed) the dispatcher should have only dropped the tones once every five minutes.

Chimp
 

rescuecpt

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I agree, the dispatcher broke protocol. The Chief or an officer should talk to them about why they paged that way, and review the protocols with them.
 

rescuecpt

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Our County is shooting for all responses to be ON SCENE in under 9 minutes (which, by the way, is impossible in many areas around here). Right now it's protocol, but there's a pain-in-the-butt politician trying to make it LAW. Am I going to be jailed for not responding fast enough? I'm a volunteer for goodness sake - and I'm not allowed to break the law to get to the station any faster!

So our *new and improved* protocol is that until a RIG is on the road (1st responders don't count), they have to page out every 3 minutes for BLS and every 2 minutes for ALS AND we have to call in to say we're on our way to the station.

It's annoying as hell.

At the FD, it takes me under 2 minutes to wake up, get dressed, pee, and get to the firehouse. I can do all that in under 2 minutes, but not if I have to stop to make a phone call!
 

SafetyPro2

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We generally only run into that situation with an engine. Used to be that as soon as a Captain was on the way to the station, he'd call in on his personal radio (officers are the only ones who have them) and say the engine was responding. We never saw that as a problem because the dispatch and on-scene times are what get officially reported, not the responding time, but during our recent policy review, the consultants determined that was an issue and the Chief decided that we would no longer put the engine as responding until it actually rolled out the doors. This means that we now do get 2nd and 3rd calls for status...isn't a seperate set of tones, just a "Engine 41, please respond".
 

Chimpie

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We generally only run into that situation with an engine. Used to be that as soon as a Captain was on the way to the station, he'd call in on his personal radio and say the engine was responding.
OMG :huh:
the consultants determined that was an issue and the Chief decided that we would no longer put the engine as responding until it actually rolled out the doors.
Good idea, since that could dramatically cut down the "response time".

Also, what would happen if the Captain got into an accident on the way to the station? :blink:
 

Chimpie

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Originally posted by rescuelt@Jul 20 2004, 12:22 PM
Our County is shooting for all responses to be ON SCENE in under 9 minutes
Unless you have personnel living/sleeping at the station I would think 9 minutes is going to be hard to come by.

Chimp
 
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ffemt8978

ffemt8978

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Originally posted by Chimpie+Jul 20 2004, 03:12 PM--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (Chimpie @ Jul 20 2004, 03:12 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> <!--QuoteBegin-rescuelt@Jul 20 2004, 12:22 PM
Our County is shooting for all responses to be ON SCENE in under 9 minutes
Unless you have personnel living/sleeping at the station I would think 9 minutes is going to be hard to come by.

Chimp [/b][/quote]
Correction:

Unless you have people sleeping in emergency vehicles every few blocks, 9 minutes is going to be hard to come by.
 

SafetyPro2

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Originally posted by Chimpie@Jul 20 2004, 03:08 PM
Good idea, since that could dramatically cut down the "response time".

Also, what would happen if the Captain got into an accident on the way to the station? :blink:
Not really. Our response time is the time from dispatch to the time the unit arrives on-scene. The time that the unit says they're responding doesn't really factor into the equation. The time it takes from leaving the station to arriving on-scene isn't a number that's recorded or used for any reason anyway. For example:

Scenario 1

13:04 - E41 is dispatched for a car fire
13:06 - Duty Captain reports E41 is responding while driving to station
13:09 - E41 rolls out of the station
13:12 - E41 arrives on-scene

Response time is 8 minutes

Scenario 2

13:04 - E41 is dispatched for a car fire
13:09 - E41 rolls out of the station and reports responding
13:12 - E41 arrives on-scene

Response time is still 8 minutes. Only difference is when dispatch is notified.

If the Captain were to get into an accident after calling in the response, it wouldn't really matter as the engine would roll with whomever else arrived at the station and saw the engine still there, and everyone would wonder where the other Captain was.

Anyway, moot point since we're not doing that anymore anyway.
 

Chimpie

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Okay, and now that I think about it, I believe most dispatchers/departments do it that way. I guess I should have phrased it as travel time instead of response time.
 

Chimpie

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I do know that at most of the depts that I'm familiar with don't say they are enroute unless they are truely enroute.

I have heard, however, someone getting on the radio and saying, "xx township, clear on the run" and then respond to the station to grab an engine. That way no more pages will be sent unless no personnel show up.

Chimp
 
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ffemt8978

ffemt8978

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That's the way it is supposed to happen, at least around here.
 

rescuecpt

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Originally posted by ffemt8978+Jul 20 2004, 05:14 PM--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (ffemt8978 @ Jul 20 2004, 05:14 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'>
Originally posted by Chimpie@Jul 20 2004, 03:12 PM
<!--QuoteBegin-rescuelt
@Jul 20 2004, 12:22 PM
Our County is shooting for all responses to be ON SCENE in under 9 minutes

Unless you have personnel living/sleeping at the station I would think 9 minutes is going to be hard to come by.

Chimp
Correction:

Unless you have people sleeping in emergency vehicles every few blocks, 9 minutes is going to be hard to come by. [/b][/quote]
The ambulance corps' times for the year so far on average is 7.82 minutes (we have in-house personnel).

The FD usually responds within 5 minutes, I think the longest response we've ever had is 12 minutes, but our district is only 2 square miles.

HOWEVER, there are many areas on Long Island that would be much harder to control the time since there's either a ton of traffic or it's so rural that districts cover 10 or 20 miles. We have an interesting mix of urban, suburban, and rural here.
 

MMiz

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First Topic: Dispatchers:

Every so often a dispatcher will ask for an ETA, but they leave it at that. We're expected to be in our rig ready to go within 5-10 minutes from the start of a shift. Let me explain the pre-shift process.
  • Arive at work
  • Clock in
  • Check your mailbox
  • Pick up portable radio and unit keys
  • Get unit out of parking lot
  • Do complete unit check.
  • Re-fill paperwork
  • Re-stock ambulance
  • Get on road
All in 5-10 minutes? Yeah right. I have the whole process down pretty good, and it takes a good 30 minutes.

This morning dispatch called the crew room's phone and asked for a crew. They had a scheduled patient they wanted picked up, and told the crew to get on the road.

And note we're only paid for our scheduled shift time.

Second Topic: Response Times:

We get 4 minute response times only because we have amazing coverage. We literally sit in our units on street corners, engines on, everything ready to go. Four minutes is the norm, but only because we have such great coverage. Literally a call goes out, and I turn the headlights, lights, sirens on, and go.

The call goes like this:

Dispatch: "505 and 506, Priority 1 for City"
505: "505"
506: "506"
Dispatch: "Priority 1 for City, 123 Main Street, City grid x, Cross streets of X and X, Man down unknown. 505?"
505: "505 responding"
Dispatch: "506?"
506: "506 responding"

We're allowed 5 minutes from when the call first comes into dispatch, until the first unit gets on scene. The first unit is a Paramedic First Responder or ALS.

In the five months I've been working, I've only had 1 response over 5 minutes, and that was because the apartment's gate code wasn't working.

The longer I work in EMS, I more I realize that most patients don't really need us there within 4 minutes. It's those 1 in a 100 that do, and that's why we're there.

At the end of a call we get a page with:

Call Received
Call Dispatched
Unit Responding
Unit On-Scene
Unit Transporting
Unit Arrived @ Facility

On an emergency call the numbers are usually something along the lines of:

Call Received: 06:00:00
Call Dispatched: 06:00:15
Unit Responding: 06:00:20
Unit On-Scene: 06:03:50

In general I don't think it's an EMT or unit's fault for a bad response time. If you were sitting on street corners, engines ready to go, police radios on (they get the call 15-30 seconds before), and you cover a small city with more cars than needed, then everyone would have amazing response times.
 

SafetyPro2

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Originally posted by Chimpie@Jul 20 2004, 03:50 PM
I have heard, however, someone getting on the radio and saying, "xx township, clear on the run" and then respond to the station to grab an engine. That way no more pages will be sent unless no personnel show up.
I should have added that the new procedure is for the Duty Captain to radio in "E41 will be responding momentarily." now.
 

cbdemt

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We run into that problem occasionally, it doesn’t really bother me though. I get there as soon as I SAFELY can, and that’s all that I can do. I think my roommate may have a different opinion when I get toned out twice at 3am before I can get out the door! :p


(i have no idea why that smiley is at the top of my post... I didnt put it there... my post is posessed!)
 

Ray1129

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Our response time is the time from dispatch to the time the unit arrives on-scene
Yet again I shall poke my head out of my sheltered bubble. I find it interesting that there are places that require a certain amount of response time (as in time from dispatch to time at scene)....down here we're required a 3 minute enroute time for EMS and a 5 minute enroute time for fire. If by that point you haven't gathered enought people to fill out your crew, whether it be fire or EMS, they go next due. If you get enough personnel after that that's all fine and dandy but you missed the initial shot.

Side note: We're all volunteer.

Our EMS calls are usually alerted tone-wise 3 times, voice-wise 5 or 6.

12:00:00 - *tone* Medical box 136, Company 1 Level. Respond an ALS unit for chest pains. 123 Street Way. Cross street XY Street and Z Way. 10-99 driver, aide/IV tech, and paramedic. 1200.

12:00:30 - Medical box 136, Company 1. 10-99 Driver, Aide/IV tech, and Paramedic. 1200.

12:01:00 - *tone* Medical box 136, Company 1. 10-99 Driver, Aide/IV tech, and Paramedic. 1201.

12:01:30 - Medical box 136, Company 1. 10-99 Driver, Aide/IV tech, and Paramedic. 1201.

12:02:00 - *tone* Medical box 136, Company 1. 10-99 Driver, Aide/IV tech, and Paramedic. 1201. Company 1, code 3.

If at any point in time a particular portion of the crew calls in (ie at 1200 a driver calls in), they'll only 10-99 everyone else until an aide calls in. If an aide does call in, they'll continue trying to get the rest of the crew, however won't go next due unless requested. At code 3, if no one has called in, then they go next due assuming no one was available.




And as far as impatient dispatchers go, if there is a dispatcher that is being particularyly impatient/annoying, there are a few things *SOME* of us do to get the message to them. The first is to talk like them. If there's an attitute in their voice, we give it right back. Second we talk oddly. Not enough to where it sounds unprofessional or rude, but just draw out a word or two here and there, and possibly give a slight accent. Just enough of a change to get their attention. The final thing is click at them. Usually we do that when they say something stupid, though. If they come across the air and have done something we want them to know about, we'll key up the radio without saying anything. It's just a quick push the button and release type of thing, but everyone hears the sound of a radio keying up and they know what it means.

If the dispatcher has done somethign really out of line (ie only gave you 3 minutes for a 5 minute enroute time, it needs to be noted. Especially when it comes to companies where you don' thave to stay in station while on duty (mainly this means volunteer, but there are a few paid like this). You need all the time you can get to arrive to the station. :D
 
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ffemt8978

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Originally posted by Ray1129@Aug 8 2004, 09:19 PM
Our response time is the time from dispatch to the time the unit arrives on-scene
Yet again I shall poke my head out of my sheltered bubble. I find it interesting that there are places that require a certain amount of response time (as in time from dispatch to time at scene)....down here we're required a 3 minute enroute time for EMS and a 5 minute enroute time for fire. If by that point you haven't gathered enought people to fill out your crew, whether it be fire or EMS, they go next due. If you get enough personnel after that that's all fine and dandy but you missed the initial shot.

And as far as impatient dispatchers go, if there is a dispatcher that is being particularyly impatient/annoying, there are a few things *SOME* of us do to get the message to them. The first is to talk like them. If there's an attitute in their voice, we give it right back. Second we talk oddly. Not enough to where it sounds unprofessional or rude, but just draw out a word or two here and there, and possibly give a slight accent. Just enough of a change to get their attention. The final thing is click at them. Usually we do that when they say something stupid, though. If they come across the air and have done something we want them to know about, we'll key up the radio without saying anything. It's just a quick push the button and release type of thing, but everyone hears the sound of a radio keying up and they know what it means.

If the dispatcher has done somethign really out of line (ie only gave you 3 minutes for a 5 minute enroute time, it needs to be noted. Especially when it comes to companies where you don' thave to stay in station while on duty (mainly this means volunteer, but there are a few paid like this). You need all the time you can get to arrive to the station. :D
Our next due department is over 30 minutes away, assuming they are sitting in their vehicles at the station when they are paged out. Unfortunately, our department doesn't allow anyone to respond directly to the scene, without the express approval of the call IC.

I do like some of your suggestions about how to deal with the dispatchers, though. The best part is we use a county wide fire frequency for paging and transmissions, so everyone in the whole county would here it. :D
 

Ray1129

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Our next due department is over 30 minutes away, assuming they are sitting in their vehicles at the station when they are paged out.
Ah.....our next due, depending on which direction you go, varies from 10-20 minutes away. And yes, that is also assuming that they are sitting in the station at the time. However, there is one company around here that tends to be so busy that they typically have crews sitting around all the time. :rolleyes:

Unfortunately, our department doesn't allow anyone to respond directly to the scene, without the express approval of the call IC.
That's a bone of contention around here. :unsure: Our county doesn't have a set standard, and if they do they haven't told me about it yet. Our policies vary from company to company, but they generally tend to follow the same path, even if one strays here and there a bit. In the company I'm with, you're allowed to go to the scene if it's between you and the firehouse and you're wearing proper PPE (either a jumpsuit or EMS turnout). This, however, does not stop some providers from responding to the scene and riding the call without before mentioned proper PPE. However, if you're caught on the ambo with shorts and/or sandals your dead.

During the day, we can be seriously understaffed andany help we get is good, so people who ride in a pair of long pants and acompany shirt don't get reprimanded as often as they should. There is always that fear that you're going to anger a responder and they'll stop showing up.... :eek:
 

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