As eloquently stated by the ASTM in their landmark 1994 white paper: “…The emergency medical dispatcher (EMD) is the principle link between the public caller requesting emergency medical assistance and the emergency medical service (EMS) resource delivery system. As such, the EMD plays a fundamental role in the ability of the EMS system to respond to a perceived medical emergency. With proper training, program administration, supervision, and medical direction, the EMD can accurately query the caller, select an appropriate method of response, provide pertinent information to responders and give appropriate aid and direction for patients through the caller. Through careful application and reference to a written, medically approved, emergency medical dispatch protocol, sound decisions concerning EMS responses can be made in a safe, reproducible, and non-arbitrary manner. These benefits are realized by EMS systems when appropriate implementation, sound medical management and quality assurance/quality improvement (QA/QI) at dispatch are provided within the EMD/EMS system. This practice assists in establishing these management and administrative standards.”
Our communications specialists are all certified emergency medical technicians, are certified by the Massachusetts State 911 Department in emergency 911 call taking, and are certified by the National Academy of Emergency Dispatch in providing EMD. All of our communications specialists are further trained and competent in FAA regulations around air medical communications and manual and computer flight following.
Every communications specialist at UMass Memorial is capable of managing all of our functions, including UMass Memorial LifeFlight, Worcester EMS, EMD, 911 call taking, and trauma notifications. In addition, several of our communications specialists undertake additional responsibilities on a regular basis – such as quality assurance activities around our EMD program and information technology liaison with the medical center and others.
In general, the EMS Communications Center is staffed by a minimum of three (3) communications specialists, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Additional personnel are scheduled at identified peak volume times during the week or for special events.