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Dispatch system aims at reducing accidents

October 09, 2003|by TARA REILLY

Washington County emergency officials have begun using a new dispatch system that allows ambulance crews to respond to minor calls without lights, sirens and excessive speed.

The Medical Priority Dispatch System, known as "hot/cold dispatch," went into effect Oct. 1.

Director of Emergency Services Joe Kroboth said the system is aimed at reducing the chance of accidents involving ambulances.

With the new system, dispatchers will ask a series of questions to determine whether the call is a hot or cold call, Kroboth has said.

Calls determined to be "cold" mean the call is not an emergency and there are no life-threatening injuries, so ambulances should respond without using lights, sirens or excessive speed. Ambulances are to obey the speed limit, stop at all traffic lights and stop signs and move with the flow of traffic, Kroboth has said.

A "hot" call would mean someone was in danger and crews should get to the scene as quickly as possible, warranting the use of speed, sirens and lights.

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The system also will control rising insurance costs, according to a written statement.

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