St. Louis (MO) initiates 9-1-1 Plus medical response referral system
Emergency medical calls to the St. Louis (MO) Fire Department are now processed through the new 9-1-1 Plus emergency medical response referral system initiated in March. Under the new arrangement, calls for situations that do not require prehospital treatment will be transferred to a referral dispatcher, who will connect the caller with an alternative transportation source or response agency.
According to St. Louis Mayor Clarence Harmon, the new system will provide for the screening of emergency medical calls, which will be coded and prioritized. Urgent and life-threatening calls will be handled as usual.
With the 9-1-1-Plus system, the referral dispatcher will remain on the line and record the call to ensure that each caller receives the appropriate emergency action. “If we are unable to connect the individual with a more appropriate medical response source, the Fire Department Bureau of Emergency Medical Services will respond,” Harmon adds.
Fire Chief Neil Svetanics explained that “the new emergency medical response initiative will eliminate EMS Bureau medical crews from having to respond to frivolous nonemergency situations” and that the system “gives us the flexibility to maintain public assurance that we are able to respond quickly to life-threatening calls at any time.”
“The EMS Bureau will now be managing access and not demand,” observes Chief Paramedic Gary Ludwig. “Previously,” he adds, “the EMS system was a `demand` oriented service with the Service attempting to handle every call with existing resources. Now, we will manage `access` to the system utilizing other resources.”
The accompanying public awareness campaign includes public service announcements and literature that explain when and how to use life support vehicles vs. other modes of transportation.