Having a headache is hardly an uncommon occurrence. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) states that “nearly everyone has a headache occasionally.” Headaches can vary in severity and duration from a slight annoyance that lasts a matter of minutes, to a life-altering, debilitating condition that is virtually constant.
Sometimes a headache is hardly noticeable, not affecting one’s daily routine or ability to accomplish tasks or enjoy activities. Other times, however, a headache can render children and adults alike incapable of functioning at a normal level.
One type of headache is a migraine, a neurological disease that is much more than simply a bad headache.
Alexander Militello is a straight shooter. He doesn’t sugarcoat.
The EPD Instructor and Quality Management Lead for the Oldenburg Communication Center in Lower Saxony, Germany, lays it right on the line when discussing the long road to implementing the Police Priority Dispatch System (PPDS) in a new building merging six police communication centers into one.
“When I look back, I would change a few things,” Militello said during his NAVIGATOR 2015 presentation (“Implementation in Oldenburg, Germany”). “I don’t know if the changes would have affected us in the long run, but it might help future implementations in Germany. I am hopeful there will be many because I am very confident in the quality of the protocol.”
Listen to Melissa Alterio and Anthony Weed talk about training for an active shooter and you’d think the possibility is imminent.
And to them, even if it isn’t, you better be prepared.
“Visualize the situation, know what you’re going to do, so when it happens, you’re ready,” said Weed, a Lt. Police Officer for the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, N.Y. “It becomes automatic.”
Weed and Alterio, Training Supervisor, Communication Center, Orange County Sheriff’s Department, presented the “Active Shooter Incidents for Telecommunicators” session at NAVIGATOR 2015 as sort of a snapshot of the eight-hour course that Weed designed for the sheriff’s department and broadened to include dispatch responsibility at Alterio’s request.
Any agency that has achieved recognition as an International Academies of Emergency Dispatch (IAED) ACE knows the process does not happen overnight. In fact, attaining ACE status requires sustained effort, laser-focus, and complete commitment from every team member.
But no one would say the challenging course to achieving this distinction wasn’t worth it.
Kathrina Murray can attest to this. The control manager at the National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) in Dublin, Ireland, played an integral role in helping the center become accredited in January 2015.
“The accreditation process requires clear planning, time, resources, and a change in management methodologies in order to achieve the award,” Murray said. “Tasks ranged from highlighting the potential benefits to senior management, to ensuring ‘buy-in’ for each stage of the accreditation process, to informing and educating staff to the benefits for patients as well as to their work processes.”
The NEOC is an agency within Ireland’s National Ambulance Service (NAS). Its 130 staff members work 12-hour shifts and serve 4.6 million residents. As the island of Ireland spreads over 32,599 square miles (84,431 square kilometers), there is a lot of ground to cover. The NEOC also dispatches for the aero medical desk and works closely with the Coast Guard, mountain rescue teams, Community First Responders, and Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) lifeboats.
Naturally, most calls NEOC dispatchers take are in English, but there is a smattering of other languages spoken in the country, including Irish (often referred to as Gaelic or Gaeilge), Polish, Lithuanian, and others.
The Grand Island Fire Department, Nebraska, was among the first agencies outside of Utah to subscribe to the then-new world of emergency medical dispatch (EMD) when it started using the Medical Protocol in 1982. Grand Island was part and parcel to the dawn of dispatch as it had been in the adoption of the paramedic concept in 1980. Paramedic Supervisor, Larry Nelson, lauded the conversion at dispatch from “Attention. Ambulance One. Emergency! Emergency!” to the “Four basic commandments of EMD” (Case Entry Questions) because, as he put it, “Since implementing the new system, several notable changes have occurred.”