MUSCOM dispatchers take calls from residents and dispatch Muscatine Police, fire, sheriff and volunteer fire departments throughout Muscatine County. They are being trained on a new system that sends additional information to first responders to medical calls.

MUSCATINE — Muscatine County dispatchers have a new medical protocol system to help better serve residents in emergency situations.

According to a city press release, Muscatine County Joint Communications Center implemented the Medical Priority Dispatch System at 10 a.m. Jan. 14, and had its first test and call shortly after.

The commission purchased the system in June and began a lengthy process of implementation, said Chris Jasper, the 911 communications manager

This new system helps dispatchers evaluate calls and situations through the use of a series of onscreen questions built on the previous response. Dispatch gets a better assessment of the caller’s condition, and gathered data is transmitted in real time to first responders, better preparing them for the upcoming situation.

The added questions won’t create a delay in dispatching, Jasper said.  Responders receive the new information after being dispatched to a call.

“This is a protocol that allows us to send the best response possible while safeguarding valuable and limited emergency services resources and increasing safety for both citizens and responders,” Jasper said. The questions, while detailed oriented, will still be easy enough for residents to answer such as “Are they breathing completely normally?” or “Are they completely alert?” without too much medical jargon.

A constant stream of crucial and updated scene information and quicker response times are the two key benefits to this system, which has been a national standard system for years. MUSCOM previously used a card system that didn’t have as much accessibility and consistency.

“We have always had the EMD protocols, just in a paper form,” said Jasper, “With this new system, it is moving from the paper form to a computer-based system and upgraded it to the newest version with updated questions and instructions.”

The system will help offer consistent care and make it easier to identify life-threatening situations where additional resources may be needed. The questions are used for medical calls only, and if someone can't speak or is in a home invasion situation, they will still have the option to utilize text-to-911.

The system requires a three-day certification training course for emergency dispatchers, as provided by the International Academies of Emergency Dispatch. They will be re-certified every two years.

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