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Was that really necessary???

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  • #31
    In my opinion, you need to find the middle of the road. If you are too vague, somebody will sue. If you are too descriptive, somebody will sue.

    Dispatchers need to give the appropriate amount of info to get the crew thinking while still protecting the calling party's privacy. I speak only from my experience but in my system, the dispatcher is vague over the radio. For example an attempted suicide would probably be dispactched over the radio like Ambulance XXX Medic XXX responded 123 happyball lane for the sick person. However, the stations have a direct line to communications and can get all of the details they need over the phone. I like the way the system works and it provides all the necessary info for the emergency crews but still keeps the privacy of the caller intact. Just my two cents.


    • #32
      Our county currently uses a code list for calls involving a suicide, gunshot or stabbing, domestic dispute, rape, or alcohol or drug use. So were dispatched like: "Squad ** respond medical emergency 123 Anywhere Ln. in the Anywho Development Grid #424A for a Code 96 Code 98D at 14:40" This gives the crew enough info. to know there going to a suicide attempt by a drug overdose. The dispatcher can relate in the message if the patient is unconscious, not breathing, etc. if need be but the crew can call in for the details what kind of drug, age, violent, etc. I know it doesn't take long for scannerland to figure the codes out but they don't give the particulars out on each emergency.


      • #33
        JMK271....MDT is a mobile data terminal...basically a computer screen in the police cruiser/ambulance/firetruck that uses the radio frequencies to send a data stream to the terminal.

        I agree with te a lot of the other posts in this trhread pertaining to a little common sense when dispatching units. Codes should be used if you are going over the air. For exam, Medic 1 precautions for medical emergencies dealing with contagious diseases, Medic 2 for suicides and suicide attempts, etc.

        Descriptions can be tasteless, too. We were once dispatched to a report of a person having a seizure...Fire Alarm came over the air with "the caller is stating that your patient is flopping like a fish...."

        And on the eighth day...God created Firefighters!
        Captain Gonzo


        • #34
          No, that was wrong, and I think that it was completly inprofessional! If it was around here this is what is would say:
          Central to Station 7, Reported Uncounsois, Non Breathing, Non Responsive subject without a pulse.
          Then when they went 10 8 (en route) they would tell them switch a private channel and give them all them all the information there.

          Bad move on dispatches part!


          • #35
            Let's remember one thing...if it's over a radio, it can be scanned. There is no such thing as a private radio channel, most times you can get what you need (if you are that interested) at Radio Shack to break any encryptions. Second, there are a lot of responses where people are stating they contact dispatch when they get to their station and that's fine, but what happens when you are already on the road returning from another call...everything goes over the radio. Also, using 10 codes or other signals only hide the obvious but don't believe that this keeps it a secret. Anyone who really listens to a scanner that much will figure those codes out fairly quickly. Use of names over the air when dispatching should not occur at any time, but information about what is happened at the scene should be relayed. Like others said, how would you feel if you pulled up and the guy was coming at you with shears and you did not know to expect it...
            "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?


            • #36
              10 codes

              When we get a possible suicide call, we receive a 10 code for it. For example last week, we had a 10-79 sierra. This told us that is was a possible suicide. That's what the sierra represents. As well, if we have a sudden death, it's the same code, but sierra delta. I think that would be the best way to keep the scanners away from your call.

              Lets never forget the events of 9-11

              If you sent us to HELL, WE'D PUT IT OUT!!

              **And of course these are only my opinion and only mine. Don't take it out on anyone else but me.**


              • #37
                The information is critical. If you are running something that is potentially a danger to yourself and your crew you need to know what you are going into.

                You can maybe drop the ages in the description and simply say: Rescue XXX you have an attempted suicide by hanging, male patient in the barn....or...Rescue XXX you have a juvenile patient with a stab wond to the head as a result of a domestic dispute.

                Domestic disputes and attempted suicides have claimed the lives of firefighters and to go in with the warning that there is a bit more going on that "normal" calls is to your advantage.

                Additionally, where some departments that have Air Medivac, that information gives the responding medical crew enough information that can help them decide if the helicopter should be pre-alerted. In some cases (not many) the dispatcher has that authority but if they dont, then the unit can do so.
                09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
                IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
                "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
                BMI Investigator
                The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.


                • #38
                  While most posts have excellent points and share with us their local dispatch traits, I would like to ask, besides the two who have already volunteered the info, how many of you are or have been Dispatchers? It is not exactly a walk in the park. Have YOU ever taken a call from a distraught mother or father or husband or wife who is standing next to a loved one who has just taken their life? It is not as easy as working on the deceased family member. I can tell you this because I have been on both sides of the picture. While dispatchers are not 100% correct most of the time, neither are field providers. I will censor my broadcasts to "meet the criteria of Scannerland" but NEVER leaving the responding units in jeopardy! That is first and foremost is the safety of Fire, EMS, Law. I don't give a rats a** who I offend as long as the responding crew is safe and has pertinent info. What happens on the street and in the Communications center is totally different. You ought to go spend a tour with your local Communications Professionals. Everyone thinks that it is easy. You try doing CPR over the phone, blind, senseless, and handicapped. Not that simple. The hanging in the barn scenario provides great detail to the event.
                  #1- The call is of a suicide nature, tension is high
                  #2- The subject has attempted to take his life via hanging, this presents several concerns for the EMS provider and starts defining care for the patient.
                  #3- This gives the location of the pt. He is in the barn. This lets us know that if LE (Law Enforcement) is not on scene there are a whole array of weapons if the subject is actually not hanging and is looking to inflict harm upon responders.
                  #4- If he is haning in a barn I know that it could be from some distance off the ground and may want to have FIRE start to provide vertical assistance if I cannot reach him. Have then start out non-priority and step up if needed.
                  #5- The barn may be someplace different from the house address. You would know this if you are local and are efficiant with your area familiarization.

                  The next dispatch scenario presented:
                  #1- Father and son obviously are hostile.
                  #2- Pliers as a weapon. They are more blunt then a knife and not nearly as penetrating. I would treat them both differently.
                  #3- I would be hessitant to approach scene when an adult male appears and is asking for help, I would know who the perp is.
                  #4- The other thing I would like to know is if LE is on scene and if alcohol is involved.

                  Stay safe,



                  • #39
                    I neglected to say that I was a dispatcher for several years before I was a career firefighter and after becoming one, I spent another year in the communications center.

                    So...yes Mark 440 I have been there. And...you are right on target with your response. As is BONES.

                    Everyone has scanners and anyone who has a scanner most likely in these days also has an 800 trunking scanner. So they can hear everything. Even if you use 10 Codes or Signals....they are part of the county system and are usually easy to figure out. It is not top secret so they can usually be acquired from the jurisdiction by "asking."

                    The dispatcher was not unprofessional in saying what he/she said. It appears to me that the dispatcher is giving out information in the interest of personnel safety.... The last time I checked...that was the primary concern here.

                    #1 Personal Safety
                    #2 Crew integrity and safety
                    #3 Public Safety.

                    In each of the cases mentioned here, there was a potential to have harm come to the responding personnel. People who attempt suicide(cowards)and are serious about it, often have a back up plan in case they are once again a "loser." Walking in to a suicide attempt without knowing that there has been one could lead to a BAD DAY AT THE OFFICE. Equally, domestic disputes are equally as dangerous. I once responded to one where a son had beat his stepdad with a baseball bat and the dad was now holding him down at gunpoint. How would you like to walk in on that after being dispatched to an "injury?"

                    Like Mark 440, I wonder what the experience level of some (we know some) who think the dispatcher was "wrong" in passing it on the way he/she did.
                    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
                    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
                    "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
                    BMI Investigator
                    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.


                    • #40
                      I believe in my area the dispatchers announce the address and the general medical problem, also if theres an assault or possible threat so they no to stay clear until the police clear the scene, in most cases the EMS crew will call the dispatch for further details. I don't agree with how the dispatcher handled those calls althogh i feel its okay to say possible suicide. Some details shouldnt be put out over the radio to protect the privacy of the families of where the calls going.


                      • #41
                        Changing channels......

                        I get both worlds when it comes to dispatching.

                        Dispatch for my Vol. Fire/ EMS Service.....

                        beep beep beep beep.....Station xxx, respond priority one, 123 Somebodies St, 20 yo m possible hanging. M pt is hanging by a 3/4" blue and yellow rope tied in a figure eight on a bite, over the rafters in the barn. The temp in the barn is 94* and humid. Pt has on blue jeans and a red shirt. Pts name is John Doe. He was upset at his girlfriend and told her she would pay. Pt is a nasty color of purple and his neck is about 8" long. Pts girlfriend has left the doors open so anyone can drive by and take a look. Pd are enroute. Time out... O dark early (say 0215).

                        OK, a little overboard, but like others have stated here, I think we get way too much info over the air for the people in scanner land to hear.

                        Dispatch for the Paid EMS/ Rescue Service I work for....

                        beep beep beep beep..... Medic xx, Supervisor xxx, respond priority one in xxxxxxx township.....
                        Medic xx goat head (or go ahead).....Sup xxx go ahead....
                        Medic xx and sup xxx respond pri one in xxxxxxx townnship, 123 Somebodies St for a suicide attempt.....
                        Medic xx and Sup xxx enroute......
                        Medic xx and Sup xxx enroute at O my God its early (thats about 0315), channel three (private channel) for update.....
                        Medic xx is on three....Sups on three...
                        Caller states that this is a male pt hanging in the barn, unknown length of time, pt is possible 10-55 (you guessed it, DOA), 10-24 (PD) are enroute, stage a block away until scene is cleared.

                        Much better on a private channel. Still, even on the private channel, only the info that is needed.... method, location, how successful (is it a threat of suicide or suicide) and has the scene been cleared by PD. On the other hand, what is the first thing everyone else that is working or has a portable at their house does...... Changes to channel three to hear what happened
                        Just my 2 cents....3 before taxes

                        Fir Na Tine


                        • #42

                          In my agency the first call would have gone out something like this:

                          Disp: Station ###, Some City Ambulance, Possible 41-Sierra (code for death-suicide), 123 Ouch Lane, Map page 1223, (repeat), time out 1330.

                          Medic: Medic 123 enroute.

                          Disp: Medic 123, you're enroute to a possible 41-Sierra 1223 Ouch Lane, map page 1223, scene is secure, contact dispatch for further (by cell), working South 2 at 1332 .

                          That my friends, would be that.

                          The second call (pliars to the head...wow) would have gone more like this:

                          Disp: Station ###, Some City Ambulance, Stage for an assualt (provided LE was not on scene yet or had not secured scene), 1330 Headache Lane, map page 1234, (repeat), time out 1501.

                          Medic: Medic 124 enroute.

                          Disp: Medic 124, to stage for an assualt 1330 Headache Lane, map page 1234. Report of a puncture wound to the head, scene is not secure. Working South 3 at 1504.

                          It is my opinion you should give information necessary for the responding units to do their job appropriately and safely. If you don't have cell phones or MDTs, obviously a little more information is going to be broadcast. It is too bad if that means news may get out over the airwaves, but it's the best system we have until MDTs are available everywhere.

                          Stay Safe,
                          "The more we sweat in training, the less we bleed in battle."


                          • #43
                            Having worked "both sides of the radio fence", full time and part time in both, I have found that dispatch gets blasted for either giving out way too much info or not enough info for the crews. Some crews say they want to know everything and forget about the scanning public and media. Others say dispatch should keep in mind that the press is listening and should withhold some info based on that reasoning. Ten codes don't work because a list can be copied from the local radio shack. Basically, as is seen here already, what is appropriate dispatch info is a personal opinion and not everyone would be happy with what's established. The best thing would be to have a board; consisting of dispatcher, a chief officer, 9-1-1 manager and field personnel, meet on a regular basis to establish guidelines for dispatch info.


                            • #44
                              Like any other job in today's job market; you get what you pay for. People who are detached from the emotions of human tragedy and only concerned about detaching their pay stub and cashing the check. I realize that there are some fantastic dispatchers out there, but let's be real; they are few and far between. We are replacing the good ones who are retiring with hold overs from Clinton's Welfare to Work program. That speaks for itself.
                              My opinion; right or wrong.
                              Visit www.iacoj.com
                              Remember Bradley Golden (9/25/01)
                              RIP HOF Robert J. Compton(ENG6511)


                              • #45
                                I understand the concern, in a way, but remember that the radio is our tool. If the people in scanner land don't want to here it they can shut it off. Our dispatch center does a good bit of delicate info over the cell phones but that is not always possible. I had mixed emotions about rumors I had heard that groups where lobbying the FCC to regulate the sales of scanners. This post may be a pro to this regulation.
                                In both cases I feel all the info given was need to know info for the crew or crews responding, and would not have a problem with recieving it over the radio.
                                Shortly before X-mas my wife almost died here at home, the call I generated by dialing 911 went over the radio in full, I had 2 paramedics and 6 emt's here before the ambulance due to this. So there are pro's and con's to both sides of the coin.
                                Do I care that my wifes info went over the radio, NO she is alive today because of it.
                                Not trying to argue just hoping you look at all side of it before coming down on the dispatcher.
                                Chief Of Station 21
                                Bell Acres, Pa.


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