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Monday, April 9, 2012

I Need a Bigger Hammer

So I am at home dawdling around when my Mayberry Minitor goes off. Diabetic. I skipped on over to Station 51 and picked up the engine to go lend a hand as it was relatively close to 51's. It was an uneventful routine diabetic call. Shortly after the Medic finally arrived from way over yonder in Shiloh, Mayberry banged out another run, a low-priority trauma.

Now, Mayberry only does 120 or so calls a year, so two in the same day is quite uncommon. Two on top of each other is fairly unheard of. Shiloh Medic 11 released us fire guys to the new call as the incident was stable. Medic 12 was assigned. Before we could get out the driveway, there was yet another EMS run elsewhere in Hazzard County, and Medic 12 was diverted. Medic 13 and 14 are all that's left, and both are staffed by callbacks and volunteers. And it is the middle of a weekday when personnel resources are low. Medic 11 directed Hazzard 911 to get us Medic 98 from our side of the line if they heard nothing from the remaining Shiloh ambulances in five minutes.

Well sure enough, five minutes went by. We arrived at the new call and found that our low priority fall was actually an oh-crap trauma call. Hey guys, do we have an ambulance yet?

Then we heard tones on our side drop for Medic 97, dispatching them Code 1 to "Move up for coverage into Hazzard County".

WTF? 97 is farther away than 98, and what's with this generic "move up" thing?

Our dispatcher then elaborated for Medic 97, saying that they got a call from the local private BLS ambulance service. Seems that instead of going 911 center to 911 center, Hazzard 911 called the non-emergent transport service in our county for a Code 3 call. They in turn called the 911 center, and the result was the non-committal and somewhat vague move-up request. A lot was lost in translation, you might say.

Radio traffic cleared the confusion fairly quickly after that and Medic 98 started our way as the closest unit, Code 3.

All said and done, it was 55 minutes from initial Hazzard County dispatch until Medic 98 from our side arrived, though it was only a 15-mile country drive.

ARRRRRRRGH. Why is it so damned hard? I am positive that if I sat in with the Hazzard dispatchers I might understand what is going wrong. But to fix it? This is more than procedural. It is cultural, and I don't have a big enough hammer to swing to change that.

Grit teeth. Keep calm. Carry on.


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