Murrieta implements emergency medical dispatch system

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The medical priority dispatch system with Murrieta Fire & Rescue went live Tuesday, Aug. 4, to improve service to the citizens of Murrieta in emergency medical situations. Valley News/Courtesy photo

MURRIETA – A new medical protocol system has been implemented by the Murrieta police and fire communications center that will enable dispatchers to accurately assess each emergency medical situation and send the best possible response.

The medical priority dispatch system went live at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 4, to improve service to the citizens of Murrieta in emergency medical situations. Dispatchers will receive on-sight and hands-on training with the system providers for the next two days.

The best possible response time for any emergency is immediate. The emergency medical dispatch system allows Murrieta dispatchers to quickly perform an initial triage to determine the type of medical or trauma situation being reported, dispatch appropriate emergency services as necessary and provide quality lifesaving prearrival emergency medical instruction to the caller in crisis before any additional help arrives on scene.

Within 15 minutes of the launch, Mattie Medina, dispatch supervisor for the system, received the first medical aid call where she asked appropriate questions to ascertain breathing status, alertness of the patient and details regarding the nature of the medical aid. Medina stayed on the line continuing to give instructions until the Fire & Rescue team arrived on scene.

Implementing the medical protocol will enable dispatchers with Murrieta Fire & Rescue to accurately assess each emergency and send the best response possible while safeguarding valuable and limited emergency services resources and increasing safety for both citizens and responders. Valley News/Courtesy photo

Communications manager Julie Shannon leads this dedicated and highly trained dispatch team.

“Essentially, our dispatchers are the first, first responders. We have a great group of professional dispatchers who are constantly going above and beyond to keep our community and our first responders safe,” she said. “We are excited to work with our Fire & Rescue partners and to be a part of this valuable service.

For Murrieta fire Chief David Lantzer, it was all about providing the best service to the community.

“This system is a tool to help us send the appropriate type and number of resources to medical calls for service. It allows us to be more efficient so we can better serve all our residents and guests in Murrieta,” Lantzer said. “Our dispatchers have been training for this for almost a year and they are to be applauded for their dedication in helping Murrieta Fire & Rescue go to the next level. And MFR’s project team has been committed to implementing EMD in Murrieta for over two years now; going live is a special time for them and I thank them for their tenacity in seeing this through.”

“Murrieta is privileged to have a city-based fire department that knows our community and consistently strives for the best in all they do,” Kim Summers, city manager of Murrieta, said. “The launch of our priority dispatch system reflects this commitment to bringing best practices to life. I am personally and professional proud of the department’s significant contributions to the city of Murrieta and its residents.”

Implementing the medical protocol will enable dispatchers to accurately assess each emergency and send the best response possible while safeguarding valuable and limited emergency services resources and increasing safety for both citizens and responders. Murrieta dispatch will now provide a constant stream of crucial and updated scene information to field responders en route. This information will better prepare responders to give precise assistance when they arrive at the scene.

Dispatchers using the newly implemented protocol system will follow internationally recognized standards. They will be able to provide universal, consistent care and service to every caller, gather critical emergency call information for responders while they are en route to the location, identify life-threatening situations where additional resources may be needed, safely prioritize calls for appropriate and fast response and provide “Zero Minute” dispatch life support using pre-arrival and post-dispatch instructions.

The priority dispatch system includes ProQA software, a three-day certification-training course for emergency dispatchers, and continual quality improvement benchmarks and training. All dispatchers who work on the new system are certified by the International Academies of Emergency Dispatch and must recertify every two years, completing 24 hours of continuing dispatch education and passing all requirements for IAED recertification.

The Murrieta police and fire communications center is the single public safety answering point for Murrieta and provides police dispatch for Menifee. The center is staffed 24/7, and in 2019, it answered approximately 30,155 calls to 911. When training is complete, the center will staff 30 full-time and two part-time dispatchers. Current employees, all of whom are EMD certified, include: communications manager Julie Shannon; Murrieta Fire & Rescue EMS coordinator Jen Antonucci and management analyst and former Murrieta emergency dispatcher Dawn Morrison. Kelly Hungerford from the city’s information services division also played a key role on the project team, which has been committed to implementing EMD in Murrieta for over two years.
“As this system of protocol implementation, training, and quality improvement is set into place,” Lantzer said. “You can be confident that Murrieta emergency communications is earning the public’s trust with every call and is the best possible source of help during times of medical emergencies.”

Submitted by city of Murrieta.