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  1. #1
    jmk271
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Unhappy Was that really necessary???

    It's one thing for a dispatcher to announce that you have an ems call...patient having chest pains.....but is it really necessary for the dispatcher to announce that you have an ems call...29 year old male has hung himself in the barn?? I personally do not think that this is neither professional, nor appropriate,..especially in a small rural area. This did not happen to my department, but one not very far from here. I don't think that those kinds of announcements should be made over the air due to relatives and friends that may have scanners and things of that nature. I can understand maybe in a large city, such as NYC or Chicago, but not here in farmland USA. I just don't think it's right. Let me know what you think...


  2. #2
    Neptune 33
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Wouldn't it have been more proffesional to say "Possible Suicide, more information when units respond" Then when they sign on, switch to another channel if possible to tell them that? Just my two cents.

  3. #3
    EMS_Rookie
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    We normally get

    "Attention all (squad name here) members, attention all (squad name here) members, you have a run. Contact County Control for more information, first alert ##:##."

  4. #4
    MetalMedic
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    As a former dispatcher, I can see how this can occur. There are some Dispatcher Training seminars out there that teach "What comes in, goes out... nothing originates or is eliminated in the Dispatch Center." I also have experienced some Chiefs that wanted exact details like this, and others who wanted just a "signal" and a location. It runs the gambit.

    Myself, I would want to know I had a possible suicide by hanging... that age and what building they are in is not of much use to me when I am planning my response.



    ------------------
    Richard Nester
    Orrville (OH) Fire Dept.

  5. #5
    FGFD43
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Lightbulb

    The EMS units in our area are equipped with cell phones so that if there is sensitive info reguarding a incident the dispatcher can have them contact them by phone to relay such info. I think this has worked well for them.

    ------------------
    Kevin Sink
    Fair Grove Fire Dept.
    Thomasville, NC USA
    kevinsink@northstate.net

  6. #6
    Adler
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    In my area, the page you get depends on the dispatch. We have a dispatch that was an EMT in the old days and is pretty good but he does say "possible suicide attempt by hanging". I guess it really doesn't matter to me how they do it. I mean if they say "possible suicide" then you would like to know if it was a gunshot, hanging, overdose, etc. We can use the cell phone and call in, but that rarely happens. But, here in rural Iowa, once you get on scene everyone knows what happened anyways. But, I can see both sides of this conversation, and I don't think that any way you do it is wrong...Different strokes for different folks

  7. #7
    CFD14
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    The way we handle this is, the dispatcher pages EMS and has them call into dispatch when they get to the ambulance barn. We use it when someone is found DOA, DRT, suicide, haz mat incidents or anytime they are needed to standby. Never announce a name or details like that until family has been notified.

  8. #8
    Ed Shanks
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    jmk271 asks:
    >>
    is it really necessary for the dispatcher to announce
    that you have an ems call...29 year old male has hung himself in the barn??
    <<

    Let's look at it. I want to know that it's a med call, for obvious reasons. I want to know that it's a possible suicide (which is the term used here) which is also the alert to make sure the cops are responding, in case the patient isn't quite gone yet, and decides to get violent. If I know the suicide attempt is by hanging I know to make sure to have some means of cutting the patient down, should I believe him to be viable. Those wonder scissors that will cut coins won't cut a 3/4" rope, at least very efficiently! Lastly, "in the barn" tells me where to look, and not to waste time going through the house looking for the patient.

    So maybe the information could have been presented a little more discretely, but the fact that he's 29 years old is the only thing I didn't need to know when being dispatched or en route.

    You have to remember, the radio is a tool. It's not for the public's amusement. If someone overhears something they find disturbing, well, that's the chance you take when you listen in. Let me add, as long as the radio traffic is done in a professional manner and in accordance to the rules.



    ------------------
    E-4-A
    IAFF 1176
    RKMC MAL

  9. #9
    jmk271
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Thanks for your thoughts everyone. Basically what I am curious about is what your dispatchs' protocol is on situations like that. I, too, like to know what I am getting myself into and also I like to have as much info as possible about the incident. But where is the line drawn between giving necessary information and being "tacky" over the airwaves? Who does the responsibility fall upon in a situation like this?

  10. #10
    Ed Shanks
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    jmk271 asks:
    >>
    But where is the line drawn between giving necessary
    information and being "tacky" over the airwaves? Who does the responsibility
    fall upon in a situation like this?
    <<

    Dispatch should have enough training that the dispatchers all know what information is expected of them. The crew responding needs to know what they're getting into. A call of "an attempted suicide" or "a possible suicide" is usually acceptable. "John Doe's 29-year-old son hung himself!!" isn't. Responders need to know the address and the nature of the emergency. Any info to help them get to the patient sooner is also inportant. Names are rarely appropriate on the air. Likewise any details not necessary. For example, I don't need to know the patient is 29 years old, because I really don't think I'll have to pick MY patient out of all the others who are (pardon the pun) hanging around.

    So the responsibility should fall on dispatch to be professional. But that doesn't mean the responding crew can play "20 questions" with dispatch, either.

    ------------------
    E-4-A
    IAFF 1176
    RKMC MAL

  11. #11
    jmk271
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Okay ....here is another example. I do believe that this was the same dispatcher only it was about a week earlier. This particular individual paged out a local ambulance squad for a domestic dispute that involved a stabbing. Pretty simple message, right? Well, here is what he added to it.
    "so & so ambulance personnel, you have an ems call at such & such address. Nature is a 15 year old male that has been stabbed in the head with a pair of pliers by his father following a domestic dispute.."
    Now...this is what I consider to be far away from professional. Nobody can honestly tell me that this didnt raise some eyebrows.

    ------------------
    JMK271
    ***Stay safe out there***
    ***These opinion(s) are my own, and not that of the department in which I serve***

  12. #12
    Lieut706
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    I defer to more information the better. We went to two "suicide" calls, one, the guy in the car in the gargage with the engine on sitting with a weapon saying "dont come any closer", the other with the state cop doing CPR in driveway after pulling the victim out of the running car. Do I want to know the differance? Sure, but do I need to know who or why? not really. Any call with an assault I want to know if it is still active, are the cops on scene or enroute and is the victim conscious or not, the rest is up the the police. You cant hide things in a small town, but it is not our place to advertise them. Tightening things up a bit would be in order.

  13. #13
    DED1645
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Lightbulb

    I personally agree w/ some of the others here that if that were in my county that it would be relayed as a "possible suicide". Then they would give us the probablity of the patient living such as "possible DOA" or patient is still warm, etc... Questions and specifics obtained by communications. Then we would be giving an update after police arrival. Now as far as them being too forward by stating someone is hanging. The last thing I would be doing in a tragic situation as this would be listening to a scanner. It really isn't a vulgar thing in my impression. Now announcing the person has AIDS, HIV or Hep-B etc... is too much. That's why when they know they announce in the dispatching to utilize universal precautions.

    ------------------
    David DeCant
    Firefighter/NREMT-P
    New Jersey, USA
    Career or volunteer we are all brothers. Just feel good for the good you do for others.

  14. #14
    M G
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    heres a more professional approach:

    Dispatch: "Squad 999, 123 farm la, between county road 100 and elm st, attempted suicide, (Repeat) 1200 hrs dispatcher 200

    Ambulance: "9991 responding"

    Dispatch: "ok 9991, resident reports a 29 yr old male hanging victim in the barn no further"

    Ambulance: "9991 ok"

    And if your companies have fax/printer systems its even easier

    Dispatch: "Squad 999, 123 Farm La, between County Route 100 and Elm St, attempted suicide, (Repeat) 1200 hrs dispatcher 200

    Ambulance: "9991 responding with printout"

    Dispatch: "ok 9991"

    And the printout has the particulars all there to read as many times as your heart desires. Some dispatch centers are too big or busy or undermanned to have all the squads calling in for runs by telephone, thats just silly. Unfortunately people will always figure out what calls are as long as they make scanners...10 codes dont help either. But the dispatchers can sound professional, thats something we can easily change.

    ------------------
    The information presented herin is simply my opinion and does not represent the opinion or view of my employer(s) or any department/agency to which I belong.

  15. #15
    Turk II
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Arrow

    I think I read somewhere above that "the radio is a tool for fire and EMS... not the general public."

    Another example that was questioned was the following dispatch --- "Nature is a 15 year old male that has been stabbed in the head with a pair of pliers by his father following a domestic dispute.."

    If EMS took the call and this is what they were given, then I don't see what is wrong with transmitting this over the air.

    Perhaps the 15 y/o's father has plans to meet the first EMT on scene at his truck to "welcome" him or her... in my opinion, anything that can make an EMT's job easier and/or safer is fair game.

    - Turk

  16. #16
    Resq14
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Originally posted by DED1645:
    Now announcing the person has AIDS, HIV or Hep-B etc... is too much. That's why when they know they announce in the dispatching to utilize universal precautions.

    I hope you weren't condoning dispatchers using "utilize universal precautions" as a code for AIDS, HIV or Hep-B. Perhaps I'm misunderstanding.

    But if you are, I think that this has been struck down in many places as being just as wrong as saying "AIDS." You always use universal precautions, so why else would you be saying this on the radio?

    I wholeheartedly understand the "protect our own" rationale behind this, but, I'd be careful.

  17. #17
    st34ff
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    In my area, we dispacte a call like this
    Squad XXX respond to 124 Main St for a possible experation (I can't spell!) Then there is a print out sent to the station for the squad to get to take with them. It works real well. I think some sensitivity does help when dispatching.

    Kyle

  18. #18
    jmk271
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    A reply to "Turk".....my entire point of this forum is to get an understanding as to why those particular elements of a message should be broadcasted over the air. Every Thomas, Richard & Harry seems to have a scanner these days. My concern is for sightseer's and onlookers sayin "hey...lets go take a look at what's goin on over at joe-bloes place!!" The general public, in my opinion, need not know about these types of calls. ESPECIALLY in small rural environments such as mine. I think that, and I am sure this is already being done, there should be tough standards about what can and cant be said over the ariwaves.

    ------------------
    JMK271
    ***Stay safe out there***
    ***These opinion(s) are my own, and not that of the department in which I serve***

  19. #19
    TruroFAO
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Exclamation

    Turk II was talking about perhaps an assilant meeting the first arriving units on scene in a less than friendly manner...He makes a good point, and this is something we should be mindful of...In Central Ohio, when we go on calls like attempts, assaults, or something which could threaten the wellbeing of not only the injured party but also public safety personnel as well, we set up a staging point short of the scene until local law enforcement arrives on the scene and secures the scene. Then we proceed in....

    Also, with regards to questionable language on the radio, why can't dispatch just say something like "attempt by hanging", instead of "hung himself in the barn next door to old man Jethro's place..."

    JMK brought up "stabbed in the head with pliers by the father..."...Couldn't that just be "stabbing, scene not secure..."?

    I realize many outlying departments don't have MDT's like many area departments here have, and that not every station has a printout they can grab on their way out of the station...But it has been mentioned that dispatch could use pagers, private call, or other methods to be more tactful...I'm not convinced it's entirely necessary to give as much information as was given in both of these examples. True, we need all the information we can get, but a good deal of the info was unecessary...Could dispatch wait until all the units are up, then give them additional info?

    Just food for thought...

    Be safe...

  20. #20
    jmk271
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    In response to TruroAFO.....

    I agree with everything you have said in your reply. I wish dispatchers would think more like that.

    ------------------
    JMK271
    ***Stay safe out there***
    ***These opinion(s) are my own, and not that of the department in which I serve***

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