Polk County 911 goes live with new system, improving services

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New equipment and specialized training are helping Polk County dispatchers make every minute count during emergencies. 

As of Wednesday, Polk County 911 implemented the Medical Priority Dispatch System, MPDS. 

The new protocol raises the standard of critical care dispatchers can provide Polk County residents moving forward. 

Now Polk County dispatcher can provide callers with pre-arrival instructions before help even arrives. A skill Director James McGuinn says his team couldn’t put into practice before the system went live this week. 

“We were not allowed to give medical advice or things like CPR instructions and childbirth instructions,” he said. 

McGuinn says the universally recognized system requires months of training and certification. 

Dispatchers are required to be recertified every 2 years. 

Dispatchers learned what questions to ask so they can gather life-saving information for paramedics, how to prioritize calls and how to identify life-threatening situations. 

“Previously we have certain things that we asked, but they weren’t designed and tested to the depth that these were,” McGuinn told 7News. 

McGuinn says more questions doesn’t mean response time is changing. Rather he says the system provides the best possible care for patients that will, in turn, save lives. 

“Everybody here deserves the same service, as good as service as they can get anywhere else. We hope to provide that for them,” he said. 

McGuinn says many states require dispatch centers to operate on the MPDS system, however, North Carolina is not one of those states. 

By the end of the year, the Polk County Police and Fire department will also go live with MPDS. 

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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