Q and A can be a matter of life or death

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By Carol A. Clark

A woman suffering a seizure on her kitchen floor doesn’t need an elite team of high angle rescuers trained to scale 200-foot canyon walls suiting up in full gear to rush to her aid. This is but one example of the many ways failure to carefully question 911 callers can lead dispatchers to route incorrect responders and waste emergency resources.To avoid this, Los Alamos fire and police dispatchers at the Consolidated Dispatch Center (CDC) use an advanced emergency medical dispatcher software system called ProQA. The priority dispatch system takes into account the non-visual nature of the medical dispatch environment, where patients must be assessed and treated by remote control. It meets or exceed international standards for emergency medical dispatching.ProQA provides the latest in pre-hospital patient care and during the course of an emergency medical call, guides dispatchers through the process of collecting vital information, choosing the proper dispatch level and instructing the caller with medically approved protocols until the appropriate dispatched units arrive at the scene. “Before, we always dispatched a rescue, a medic and an engine,” said Los Alamos Assistant Fire Chief/Fire Marshall Mike Thompson.

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