The emergency medical services (EMS) response to Ebola begins at the Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs), triaging patients and providing notification to responding crews on patients who are potentially affected by the virus. The use of the Academy’s Emerging Infectious Disease Surveillance (EIDS) Tool is described later in this article.
Outbreak According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “the 2014 Ebola outbreak is the largest in history and the first Ebola outbreak in West Africa. This outbreak is actually the first Ebola epidemic the world has ever known”—meaning it has spread rapidly to a large population. As of Oct. 20, 2014, the World Health Organization (WHO) has reported 9,178 probable, confirmed, and suspected cases in seven countries—Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Senegal, Spain, and the United States—including 4,546 deaths. Senegal has reported at least one case, but no deaths to date.
Preliminary findings from the research survey distributed at NAVIGATOR 2014 adds to the growing body of literature that indicates stress, from secondary exposure to emotional trauma, is an occupational hazard for fire, police, and medical dispatchers.
Significant findings from the survey indicate dispatchers experience a level of secondary traumatic stress that is 30 percent greater than the level experienced by registered nurses participating in a study using the same criteria.
Dispatchers’ levels of burnout are also greater, with nearly one-quarter (24.83 percent) of respondents exhibiting various stages of Compassion Fatigue, a state of emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress, compared to 22 percent of RNs in a similar study.
In addition, 17 percent of the 189 respondents completing the survey at NAVIGATOR met criteria for Acute Stress Disorder (ASD) related to incidents occurring in the 30 days prior to taking the survey.
Recertification has abandoned the green to go green.
In other words, the six-page recertification tri-fold printed on green paper is going the way of the Rolodex. From updating personal information to instant notice of recertification, everything can now be accomplished online to renew your EMD, EFD, and EPD certifications and the affiliated Q certifications.
The new Recertification Registry and electronic filing process gives members the ability to access everything online:
50-question multiple choice recertification exam
Application (your personal and demographic information)
Your preferred payment method
Academy record of your personal Continuing Dispatch Education
As with paper applications, electronic recertification applications can be accepted as early as six months before expiration and as late as 90 days after the expiration date. The Academy grants a 90-day grace period, so if certification is less than 90 days expired, the member is still OK. Members can also access and submit the lapsed waiver forms necessary when expiration is delayed for a good reason and is more than 90 days late.
The only part of the process that stays with the postal system is your receipt of the actual renewal card and confirmation letter, which will be mailed to you or the agency, depending on the preferred address, as soon as the listed CDE units are verified.
Get ready, get set, go
Starting the process is as easy as turning on your computer, going to the Internet, and accessing the IAED™ website.
Brittany Miller had a gut feeling that something was wrong.
The muffled sound she heard over the open line wasn’t someone making a prank call, and she was sure that a cellphone pocket dial wasn’t the cause.
“It sounded like someone gasping, but it was so faint, it was hard to tell,” said Miller, an EMD for the Wasilla Police Department in Wasilla, Alaska. “But something about it told me this needed to be addressed.”
Open lines are common, Miller said.
The call had been answered by a calltaker, but the caller wasn’t responding. As is center policy, the telephone connection was established, and the line would remain open. If the call disconnected at some point after the calltaker had answered and no response was received from the caller, only then would the open line be considered a hang-up call.
Miller listened closely through her headset, picking up what she believed was a faint moan for help. She also heard what sounded like agonal breathing, which is a breathing pattern that lingers after the heart has essentially stopped pumping blood to the brain.
She acted on what she was hearing.
“I dispatched response immediately,” she said. “I don’t know if there was someone there who could hear me, but I said, ‘Help is on the way.’”