1. #1
    BUGGY5632
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    Default Use of abbreviations in CAD narrative

    Our Deputy Director has gotten on this new kick lately: No more abbreviations in CAD narratives. Over the past few weeks, many of us have been getting sheets of CAD narrative in our mailboxes requesting to remove the abbreviations and spell out the word or term entirely. It's almost like you are back in school again and your homework is returned to you with red ink all over it. We all are sick and tired of it. Some have taken different approaches to this new "fishing expedition":

    Dispatchers are abbreviating almost everything they can get their hands on (spite).

    Nobody is taking him seriously

    I am experimenting with his fishing expedition for this weekend only, and it does not work when you have a 3rd alarm structure fire, cardiac arrest, and a fight in progress with weapons at the same time.



    What is your policy on abbreviations, and what are some of the common abbreviations your center uses on a regular basis?

    Thx, (oops, I abbreviated, first time since Friday! )
    Last edited by BUGGY5632; 05-29-2006 at 03:18 AM.

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    As far as abbreviations go, we don't have a policy in place, but we don't use many. The only ones I can think of offhand are the 2 hospitals and some common ones: lsw (last seen wearing); directions; pt (patient); hx (history); compl (complainant); anything similar and common. Of course, with the trend toward plain text, your Deputy Director may be trying to expand the use of plain text into CAD.

    As far as dealing with this directive, I would strongly recommend discussing it with the Deputy Director rather than refusing to comply. Just because he hasn't enforced it beyond returning narratives with requests to correct doesn't mean he doesn't plan to after a period of adjustment. It would be much better to sit down with him - either individually or as a group - and discuss the issue. With discussion, you may be able to either come to an understanding of what he is trying to accomplish or bring your problems to his attention so he might be willing to work with you to modify his requirement for plain English.
    Joe O'Keefe

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    We are actually required to use abreviations. When you first create a call the Cad will only accept two lines of text, so you want to shorten it as much as possible. Also the Alpha numberic pagers for the fire department only accept a certain number of lines on the initial dispatch. We had set abreiviations that we use for things, so everyone is using the same thing.

    What is the reasoning behind the order to stop using abreviations?
    "Hard work spotlights the character of people: some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their noses, and some don't turn up at all"

  4. #4
    BUGGY5632
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    Quote Originally Posted by ramseycl
    We are actually required to use abreviations. When you first create a call the Cad will only accept two lines of text, so you want to shorten it as much as possible. Also the Alpha numberic pagers for the fire department only accept a certain number of lines on the initial dispatch. We had set abreiviations that we use for things, so everyone is using the same thing.

    What is the reasoning behind the order to stop using abreviations?
    We also use text pagers as backup to the voice pagers as well. You are correct in saying that this is the best place to use abbreviatives when entering text into the CAD entry screen (We use New World Systems CAD). The reasoning supposedly behind the order is because of a multiple mutual aid brush fire we had last month, and from what I was told, the narrative was so filled with abbreviations that it was "too embarrassing to hand out to the agencies participating in the incident".

    The reason nobody is sitting down and discussing the issue is because this decision is an autocratic decision made by the Deputy Director. What he says goes, period. Which is not a very good leadership style as far as I'm concerned. We wanted to develop an "approved list", but he didn't want that either. There is just a lack of compliance there because nobody really takes him seriously, and his decisions are usually overridden by the Director after several complaints by Senior Dispatchers anyway. So in essence, the storm is being ridden out, expecting the fishing expedition to last for a few weeks.

  5. #5
    BUGGY5632
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    Quote Originally Posted by JOKeefe
    As far as abbreviations go, we don't have a policy in place, but we don't use many. The only ones I can think of offhand are the 2 hospitals and some common ones: lsw (last seen wearing); directions; pt (patient); hx (history); compl (complainant); anything similar and common. Of course, with the trend toward plain text, your Deputy Director may be trying to expand the use of plain text into CAD.

    As far as dealing with this directive, I would strongly recommend discussing it with the Deputy Director rather than refusing to comply. Just because he hasn't enforced it beyond returning narratives with requests to correct doesn't mean he doesn't plan to after a period of adjustment. It would be much better to sit down with him - either individually or as a group - and discuss the issue. With discussion, you may be able to either come to an understanding of what he is trying to accomplish or bring your problems to his attention so he might be willing to work with you to modify his requirement for plain English.
    We were using the above abbreviations you listed for YEARS. Now suddenly, he doesn't know what they mean. I mean come on now. A lot of us dispatchers come from a FD/EMS background and a couple have only LEO only. When I am busy, it seems much easier for me to enter into narrative

    C/P TOT NYSP instead of

    Calling party turned over to New York State Police.

    SHEESH!!!!

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    we have no policy on them ................most of them are easy to figure out (per your entitiy).......we do enter some calls that come directly to us and we dont use them. Common ones for us:
    LS_#=Lifesquad #
    Resp=Responding
    there have got to be more but hese are the only 2 I can recall ..............and I am at WORK !
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    My agency also does not have a policy on abbreviations but we all try and use common abbreviations as opposed to ones that are made up.

    Talk about being back in school. Our agency has lead dispatchers. (semi supervisors) Part of thier duties is to review all cad calls to make sure that they are complete with all information to include spelling errors. If they are incomplete or have spelling errors they are e-mailed back for correction.

    Try being the teacher! 30-50 calls a night. every night. ug

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    Default Speed notes

    Our CAD allows us to use speed notes to help us out.

    I.e I type OS(enter) CAD spells out "On Scene"

    IA - Cad spells out "in the area searching"

    HO - CAD spells out "hold off"

    Every bit helps
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    Quote Originally Posted by SSTONER
    Our CAD allows us to use speed notes to help us out.

    I.e I type OS(enter) CAD spells out "On Scene"

    IA - Cad spells out "in the area searching"

    HO - CAD spells out "hold off"

    Every bit helps
    I work casual as an Emergency Medical Dispatcher for our provincial ambulance system. Much the same a SSTONER mentioned, we use a lot of predesignated shorthand notes, all beginning with a forward slash (/):

    /dos - delayed on scene for treatment/extrication

    /dah - delayed at hospital due to bed availability

    /test - this is your pager test. please contact dispatch to confirm

    /toys - no special equipment required

    /o2 - O2 required

    /mon - monitor required

    These are just a few examples of many. Yes, they take some getting used to and it is difficult to remember all of them, but they save time.

    Maybe if all the staff can meet with the supervisor to express their concerns and the usefulness of abbreviations/shorthand, he/she will reconsider its use and place in the system.

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    We have about 100 approve abbreviations that we use...

    COMP - complaintant
    CKH - contacting key holder
    NSFE - No signs of forced entry
    ENR - enroute
    CXL - cancel
    PT - patient
    SUBJ - subject

    And the list goes on and on.

    I can't imagine working in an environment where abbreviations aren't used. Espcially as long as everyone recognizes what it means. I had no idea what C/P TOT NYSP was (other than something to do with New York State Police), but if those you work with know, I don't see what the big deal is.

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    Sounds like he/she has too much time on their hands.

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    Sounds like he/she/both is not qualified for the position of boss. Clearly they don't understand the job they are supervising.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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    We have no policy on it, but I'm sure that if it got to be a problem we would get 16 memos and 30 e-mails and everyone would be so annoyed that they would be sure to comply...at least for a while...

    CAD events are all abbreviated, so being allowed to use those is a given. Ocasionally they find their way into narratives or initial remarks. Some include:

    VEHACC=Vehicle accident
    SPEOFF=Speak to an officer
    VEACIN=Vehicle accident w/ injury
    VEACEN=Vehicle accident with entrapment
    STRFIR=Structure fire
    MEDPRO=Medical problem
    ?MED=Unknown medical problem
    ?FIRE=Unknown type fire
    BRUFIR=brush fire
    DIAB=Medical problem, diabetic related
    DIB=Difficulty in breathing
    DOM=Domestic
    SIG9=Drunk driver
    SIG10=Drunk
    SIG12=Fight
    SEIZ=Pt in seizure
    UNCONS=Unconscious pt
    UNRESP=Unresponsive pt

    The list goes on, and on, and on......

    Others you commonly see, more in initial remarks than in narratives, are:

    pt=patient
    hx=history
    c/c=chief complaint
    tx=transferred - as in a transferred call to another agency or transfer as in a pt tx from one medical facility to another
    ENR=enroute/responding
    ONS=on scene
    ARR=arriving
    RETURN=returning
    CLR=In service/clear
    TRANS=in transport
    y/o=year old

    Depending on whether or not your call-taker happens to be an EMT, and who is dispatching, you may even find some medical abbreviations used that you would maybe more commonly see on a squad's PCR...also, for police, 10-codes and signals may or may not be used...plain english is favored but 10-codes and signals are still accepted.
    IACOJ

    "And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap it if we do not lose heart."

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