Beginning at 7 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 11, Murphy Fire Rescue is implementing a revised response procedure designed to decrease the possibility of driver distraction, accidents and misconceptions, says Fire Chief Mark Lee.
“We will go from an automatic, no-exception response to a more appropriate, situational response posture,” he said. “Calls into our 9-1-1 center will be evaluated and a suitable response will be initiated – either full emergency or standard response.” This system is referred to as Emergency Medical Dispatch.
Prior to this new dispatch system, all calls, regardless of the severity of the incident, initiated a full emergency response complete with sirens, lights and the accompaniment of a fire truck. Now, the 9-1-1 operator will ascertain the severity of the incident and relay that information to first responders, who will then determine the category of response.
Full emergency response will continue for unconscious persons, breathing difficulties, heart attacks, strokes and other incidents where time is of the essence in treating and stabilizing the affected individual or individuals.
Conversely, a standard response, with no lights or sirens and no accompanying fire truck, will be dispatched for flu-like symptoms, back pain, falls from ground level and other incidents where time is not of the essence and affected individuals are not likely to suffer additional trauma.
“As to why a fire truck accompanies an EMS unit, we use the personnel from the fire truck to help the paramedics with their equipment and patient handling,” he said. “Under this new system the ambulance will travel alone on the low-acuity standard calls. On the full emergency calls, the department will respond with a fire truck to continue with that assistance.”
Even after the initial dispatch, if the 9-1-1 operator obtains additional information that affects the level of response, that information will be relayed to the first responders, giving them the ability to upgrade or downgrade the response level.
“The safety of the community and the department will continue to be of paramount importance,” said the Chief. “We’re convinced this new system will help lower the risk of causing traffic confusion, and perhaps even car crashes.”
Questions on the new response plan can be addressed to Murphy Fire Rescue at the non-emergency phone line (972) 468-4300.
“We’re proud to serve the community,” he said. “And, we’re confident that that the newly implemented response plan will meet and exceed our community’s expectations.”