Escambia County EMS And Fire-Rescue Rely On Telestaff As Thousands Converge On Pensacola Bay To Clean Up After Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

IRVINE, Calif. – July 12, 2010 – Principal Decision Systems International (PDSI), the leader in public safety employee scheduling and communication solutions, wishes to acknowledge the contributions of Escambia County Emergency Medical Services...


IRVINE, Calif. – July 12, 2010 – Principal Decision Systems International (PDSI), the leader in public safety employee scheduling and communication solutions, wishes to acknowledge the contributions of Escambia County Emergency Medical Services and Escambia Fire-Rescue for their integral role in the ongoing clean up efforts of the Gulf of Mexico.

"It is with great pride that we recognize the work of these Florida departments and are gratified that we can in some way be a part of the myriad support system cleaning up the Gulf. This is why we created TeleStaff; to advance the critical mission of public safety," said Greg Ekstrom, PDSI president.  "A lot of us feel helpless as we watch the oil spill on the news. We are heartened that we are able to assist first responders with this tremendous undertaking on the ground."

On April 20, an explosion 50 miles off the coast of Louisiana aboard British Petroleum's Deepwater Horizon oil rig killed 11, injured 17 and began what has become the worst oil spill in American history. Nearly three months later, stakeholders are battling to contain the now estimated 2 million gallons of oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico daily.

Earlier this month, Escambia County EMS was called upon to safeguard the 1,500 workers each day cleaning up Pensacola's shoreline and waterways from the Alabama state line to Santa Rosa County, in 100 degree heat and humidity. The 24-hour a day work detail, which required 22 paramedics and EMTs per 12-hour shift, included setting up sites in locales that were not part of their normal duty area along a 100-mile plus stretch of beach and in the water.

For weeks, workers have been trying to free the beaches of tar balls, some the size of basketballs, and tar lines, which are longer and larger, along Pensacola Beach. In addition, multiple boats are working to remove oil from the water.

"Our role is to provide aid stations for the workers and medical personnel on the boats that are skimming and putting up booms," said Escambia EMS Chief Mike Weaver.

Before embarking on his expanded responsibilities, Weaver first had to tackle the task of scheduling and notifying qualified and available personnel. It quickly became overwhelming using their current method of manual scheduling with paper.

"This was way beyond our scope," said Weaver. "All the road supervisors and managers were on the telephone trying to staff 12 hours out. That's a total of four going round the clock just to staff 12 hours out. We did it like that for a week."

Thanks to interdepartmental cooperation with Escambia County Fire-Rescue, Escambia EMS streamlined operations in a couple of hours using TeleStaff. PDSI's Technical Services associates created a special unit dedicated to the new detail; imported the fire department's database to increase the pool of personnel to 221, including their availability and qualifications; created a new position within the unit; tied the new unit to existing rules; and set up shift times and multiple offers. Other functions utilized included setting up auto hire with multiple call times and creating backup positions. Initial notifications also included information alerting staff of the new unit within the job offer so the transition was seamless.

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