Botetourt County launches new medical priority dispatch system

Roanoke Valley News

BOTETOURT COUNTY, Va. (WFXR) – Botetourt County’s Department of Fire & EMS along with the Botetourt County Sheriff’s Emergency Communications Center has announced the implementation of the Medical Priority Dispatch System (MPDS) to better serve the residents and visitors of Botetourt County.

In emergency situations, dispatchers will follow nationally recognized standards and research-based protocols to identify life-threatening situations and to safely prioritize calls for a response.

The protocols guide emergency dispatchers through a series of questions they ask callers to identify the problems so they can send the correct help.

Emergency dispatchers will also use the questions to provide responders with accurate information so they can more effectively give care once they have arrived on the scene.

Plus, with the MPDS, emergency dispatchers can provide lifesaving and safety instructions to callers and patients before responders arrive.

“When a citizen in Botetourt County picks up the phone and calls 911 to report a medical emergency, every second counts. I am confident the training and enhancements of the Priority Dispatch System will provide our staff with the tools needed to help save lives. I am grateful to the Botetourt County Board of Supervisors and Chief Jason Ferguson for their commitment in providing this service to the citizens of Botetourt County.”

Matt Ward, Botetourt County Sheriff

The Priority Dispatch System includes ProQA software and/or card sets, a three-day certification training course for emergency dispatchers and continual quality improvement benchmarks and training.

All emergency dispatchers who work on the new system will be certified by the International Academies of Emergency Dispatch and must recertify every two years, complete 24 hours of continuing dispatch education and pass all requirements for IAED recertification.

The implementation of the program is also part of a grant funded by the Virginia Office of Emergency Medical Services. A grant for 50 percent of the overall initial costs was funded in July of 2020.

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