As of Dec. 1, Barrow County Emergency Services (BCES) has implemented an improvement to their 911 system that could potentially save lives, according to Cpt. Scott Dakin, Public Information Officer with BCES.
It is called the Medical Priority Dispatch System (MPDS), and it was designed to enhance the response protocols of BCES personnel when they are dispatched to medical emergencies.
The new protocols put in place will guide emergency communications officers through a series of questions to ask the callers in order to better identify the problem and send appropriate help. The system will also help operators better prioritize calls by identifying which situations are life-threatening and need an immediate response.
Before responders arrive on the scene, communications officers can use the questions to help callers and provide life-saving instructions, like how to perform CPR or assist in delivering a baby.
Communications officers can then take the information they acquired and provide it to the responders when they arrive.
"We do ask citizens to be prepared and answer questions for us," Dakin said. "Answering questions will not delay help. We have the ability that as soon as it gets to a certain point, help is on the way."
Training for the new software took three days, but Dakin says they have been preparing for the change for months. All communications officers who work on the new system are certified by the International Academies of Emergency Dispatch (IAED).