Monday, July 30, 2012

Hendry Sheriff Wants To Save Lives

New Emergency Medical Dispatch Helps In Emergency Calls

LABELLE, FL. -- Hendry Sheriff Steve Whidden is proud of the recent certification of the department's dispatcher unit. All employees have completed 32 hours of course work, taken certification in CPR, and experienced "ride-alongs" with EMS personnel on emergency calls to qualify for the Emergency Medical Dispatch program.

The new Emergency Medical Dispatch (EMD) programs aims to save lives by providing specialized training to Sheriff's communication personnel to enable quick and efficient handling of emergency medical calls. Previously, dispatcher's only job was to take calls and send emergency personnel to the location.

Communications Supervisor Margie Phipps, a 12 year veteran of the Sheriff's office says one of the most important things for the public to remember if they call the Sheriff's office is to remain calm. Sheriff Whidden points out that in cases of  emergencies where a life is at stake, emergency  vehicles are dispatched immediately, but persons calling 911 should try to remain as calm as possible so the dispatcher can garner important information about the emergency.

Phipps related how a dispatcher received a call from Montura Estates in central Hendry county and helped save a life when instructions were given to the caller on how to help an injured party who had fallen from a ladder and sustained a large cut to the head. The help the dispatcher gave to the caller provided the necessary guidance to lessen the severity of the injured party's outcome.

The new EMD program allows dispatchers to give instruction to callers to be able to better handle an emergency and possibly save a life because of the knowledge they are able to provide to callers.

The trained communications dispatchers can provide and assist the layperson/caller with pre-arrival instructions to help the victim, using standardized protocols developed in co-operation with local medical directors. Such instructions may consist of simple advice to keep the patient calm and comfortable or to gather additional background information for responding paramedics.

The instructions can also frequently become more complex, providing directions over the telephone for an untrained person to perform CPR, for example.

(Video: Sheriff Stephen Whidden and Margie Phipps explains the new EMD dispatch system and the Sheriff's office communications personnel at their work stations. Also shown Lieutenant Susan Harrelle, Public Information Officer for the Department.)

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