MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – When an emergency suddenly occurs and a Murfreesboro citizen or visitor dials 9-1-1, the first Emergency Dispatcher who answers the call for help is cross-trained, certified, and utilizes new technology tools accurately and quickly to triage the incident. This new training includes coordinating the medical, fire, and police response, and providing lifesaving and safety instructions to callers and patients before responders arrive. The training, technology and protocols are making a difference in advancing 9-1-1 services through positive citizen feedback.
The Murfreesboro Emergency Communications Center (ECC) has cross-trained and certified 9-1-1 operators in Emergency Medical Dispatch (EMD). Since October 2021, ECC personnel follow nationally recognized standards and research-based protocols to identify medical life-threatening situations.
“Over the seven months, we have continued to invest in our first-first responders through the certification in the International Academies of Emergency Dispatch (IAED) for both medical and fire call handling protocols,” said Emergency Communications Director Seth Russell. “This empowers our emergency dispatchers to handle any call for help within our jurisdiction.”
Through an enhanced computer-aided dispatch interface between the city and Rutherford County (EMS), incident information is shared digitally in real-time. Additionally, Murfreesboro Fire Rescue Department (MFRD) automated station alerting, and a common medical response radio channel has been implemented to enhance the communication between the Murfreesboro ECC and responding agencies.
These processes save valuable time during life-threatening emergencies and have reduced the need to transfer 9-1-1 callers with medical emergencies by 82-percent over the last seven months.
In the 7-months prior to implementation of the new EMD program, the ECC transferred 6,376 callers with 9-1-1 medical emergencies. In the 7 months since the EMD program was implemented, the ECC experienced a 5,254 reduction in transferring callers with 9-1-1 medical emergencies.
In addition to following nationally recognized standards, Emergency Communications personnel can now provide the following lifesaving and safety instructions to callers and patients:
Telephone CPR Airway Support AED Use Support
Childbirth Heimlich/Chocking Bleeding Control
Aspirin Administration Narcan Administration Epi Pen Administration
Stroke Diagnostic Post-Dispatch Instructions Pre-Arrival Instructions
The constantly evolving IAED call handling protocols help provide the highest standard of care to the community, allowing the Murfreesboro ECC to better manage resources and increase the accuracy and efficiency of the 9-1-1 emergency dispatching process to meet the demands of a rapidly growing city.
The International Academies of Emergency Dispatch call handling protocols, implemented in Oct. 2021, received authorization from retired Medical Director Dr. Russell E. Galloway, MD, and current Medical Director Dr. Jeremy Crook, MD.
“At the IAED, our goal is to help the emergency dispatcher do his or her job better,” said Dr. Jeff Clawson, Chair, Rules Committee for the IAED Medical Council Standards. “This system increases safety and effectiveness for the first responders and creates better outcomes for callers.”
In April, the Murfreesboro ECC announced the implementation of a new citizen feedback solution called “CueHit PowerEngage” to track citizen satisfaction and solicit feedback after a call is made. The feedback specific to the recently implemented IAED call handling protocols shows 95-percent overall satisfaction from our citizens.
Below are examples of survey feedback from callers following-training, protocols and diagnostic tools established in the ECC.
1. “Clear and precise directions on what to do to help.”
2. “Everyone was very helpful and kind to my Mom. They were very thorough in their questioning and provided clear and easy to follow directions for Mom.”
3. “My friend was having an epileptic seizure, I'm usually cool as ice under pressure but I didn't have any working knowledge of what to do. I was in mild panic mode. Whoever I spoke to calmly guided me and I couldn't be more grateful.”
4. “Was very thorough with what she was doing and making sure everything was going smoothly and the care of my sister was great.”
“As an Emergency Communications Center we are always striving to advance the quality of 9-1-1 services that we provide, and we will continue to make enhancements to our operational processes and training programs that will make a real difference in emergencies,” added Russell. “It is very encouraging to receive overwhelmingly positive feedback from our citizens for both our 9-1-1 Heroes and for our Medical and Fire operational processes and training programs that we have implemented.”
“The IAED protocols and other quality improvement processes are greatly enhancing our Emergency Medical Dispatch (EMD) program,” added Russell. “These technologies and processes allow our team to reduce call times and provide patient care and life-saving services for residents in emergencies.”
With Murfreesboro’s implementation of these advancements in 9-1-1 services, citizens and visitors can have peace of mind that when they call 9-1-1 for assistance, a highly trained emergency dispatcher will properly handle their needs with timeliness and expert care.
As a Primary 9-1-1 Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP), Murfreesboro Emergency Communications personnel are the first to answer the call for help for approximately 50-percent of emergency medical calls in Rutherford County. MFRD personnel are trained in emergency medical response, including paramedics, the highest level of emergency service. Over 80- percent of MFRD calls are medically related. In July 2021, Murfreesboro Fire Rescue became the first fire department in the state of Tennessee to simultaneously hold accreditation from the Commission on Fire Accreditation International (CFAI) and Insurance Service Office (ISO) Class 1 rating.