County launches new 911 system
Crook County 911 has implemented a new emergency medical response system designed to improve response times and first responder efficiency. The center provides communication service to the Prineville Police Department, the Crook County Sheriff's Office, Crook County Fire and Rescue, and the U.S. Forest Service.
Rebekah Burkhardt, 911 communications director, said the new dispatch software guides emergency dispatchers seamlessly through the process of gathering essential information, resulting in faster response times.
"The ProQA software gives us the ability to better determine what resources to send to medical emergencies with the right equipment," she said.
ProQA integrates the National Academies of Emergency Dispatch protocols with computer technologies. The software enables dispatchers to consistently follow best-known standards of care, including providing potentially life-saving instructions. In addition, it guides emergency dispatchers through the gathering of essential information and dispatching of resources.
"With the implementation of ProQA, our dispatchers have the opportunity to invest in and work with a proven system that enables efficient and effective information gathering from a member of our community needing help," said Dave Pickhardt, Crook County Fire and Rescue deputy chief. "This correct information gathering ultimately results in first responders responding with the details and information they need to support a safe and effective response."
Among the software program tools are those that can accurately identify a stroke, identify breathing patterns related to sudden cardiac arrest, function as a compression monitor so dispatchers can guide callers administering CPR, and quickly calculate the number of weeks in a pregnancy using a due date.
According to Burkhardt, using the Stroke Diagnostic Tool will allow dispatchers to evaluate and identify acute stroke patients more accurately.
"Using the Stroke Diagnostic Tool has been shown to take only about 27 seconds and provides early and accurate stroke identification for responders," she said.
"Every second counts in an emergency, and the new dispatch system will assist dispatchers and first responders in providing the highest standard of care to the community," said Prineville Mayor Jason Beebe.
In 2020, there were approximately 3,820 Emergency Medical Service (EMS) calls in Crook County.
The new system was implemented the last week of June.
The upgrade was made possible, Burkhardt said, by a larger-than-anticipated amount of carryover funds from last biennium's dispatch budget. She explained that it was due in large part to "staffing gaps created by difficulties finding bodies to put in our seats."
"CCFR agreed in the last biennium to kick up the support costs in order to work towards always having two dispatchers on duty," Burkhardt continued. "As that was not realized during the last biennium, with board approval, those dollars were rolled over into the purchase of the Priority Dispatch medical system. Fire was more than agreeable to redirect the funds in the effort to make the intake of medical calls more efficient in lieu of not yet having the preferred number of personnel as the benefit to their agency is, in reality, invaluable. Combined with a few coronavirus relief dollars, the purchase was made with no additional costs to the user groups fees."
The upgrade to the new system coincides with a move to a new and improved police department and 911 dispatch building. Burkhardt said that the move was not necessary to upgrade the 911 system but noted that "being able to move to a facility that really meets our needs as a center certainly helps with making additional changes and upgrades to our processes."
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