News & Announcements
Effective February 18th, 2015, there will be a gradual roll out of some changes in EMS Radio dispatch processes. The major change will be the routine assignment of a TAC channel to all EMS calls, in the same fashion as Fire calls are assigned a TAC. To improve interoperability, all updates on EMS calls will be provided exclusively on the assigned TAC. This means that, after calling enroute on EMS1, all units should switch to their assigned TAC and remain on the TAC until leaving the scene. The only exception would be if they need to reach EMS Dispatch, in which case, it is necessary to return to EMS1 (i.e., arrival on scene, departing for a hospital, clearing a scene in service, etc). Any communications between EMS units on scene or responding and/or fire units on scene or responding should occur on the assigned TAC. If EMS Dispatch is looking for units responding or on scene, they will switch to the assigned TAC to make contact.
There are multiple reasons for the change, the major one being the continued lack of interoperability between fire and EMS. Currently, updates are being given to EMS on one channel and Fire on another. Both are asking Communications to relay messages rather than talking directly to the other. It is hoped that this will help to reduce redundant messages and get EMS and fire communicating with each other more directly (which is what the 800 system was designed to do). This will have a side benefit of allowing EMS first responders to contact their responding ambulance directly on the assigned TAC without being delayed by (or interrupting) other calls in progress on EMS1. Obviously, there will be bumps in the road as this rolls out. Contact EMS Coordinator Mike McEvoy with questions or concerns.
During the week of August 11, 2014, a dispatch of psychiatric/abnormal behavior and suicide attempt calls will change. Initial dispatch of these calls will be at the Priority 3 response recommendation. This means, for the first time ever, that responders will hear Priority 2 Alpha, Bravo and Delta dispatches. This signifies that responders need to stage, according to individual agency policy for such, until advised that the scene is secure. A couple additional caveats to be aware of:
- Once the scene is secure, Communications will advise responding units. They will also upgrade the call to the response it would have been assigned initially had the scene been secure.
- Keep in mind that, per policy, Priority 3 calls do not roll over into the Mutual Aid Plan. If you know your agency will not be able to respond to a Priority 3 dispatch, someone from your agency should request MA be activated. Once the call is upgraded (i.e., when the scene has been secured), the MA clock starts and the call will be processed using the usual MA timing.
Contact County EMS Coordinator Mike McEvoy with any questions or concerns.
The Office of Emergency Services announced that Radio Repair Requests for County owned mobiles and portables as well as agency owned equipment needing service by the County radio vendor (Pittsfield Communications) should be requested via a newly opened web portal at http://radio.saratogacountyny.gov. For a copy of the announcement with additional details, click here.
Saratoga County has purchased ten Cyanokits and strategically deployed them around the County. Cyanokits are an antidote for cyanide poisoning, thought to be the leading cause of death in fire victims. Two kits each are presently available in Clifton Park-Halfmoon, Malta, Community, Wilton and Moreau. Please consider calling one of these agencies for a Cyanokit for any arrested patient pulled out from a structure fire or for any firefighter who collapses in arrest during or after interior structural firefighting activities. Our resuscitation rate for fire victims in Saratoga County is dismal – near zero. A study using the Cyanokit over an 8 year period in Paris shows that we may be able to revive more than half of our fire scene victims with this new antidote. If you have an arrest at a fire scene, please call for an agency with a Cyanokit. For more information on Cyanokit, visit www.cyanokit.com.
The HazMat Fusion Center www.hazmatfc.com recently released a Chemical Assisted Suicide Responder Reference to aid emergency responders in recognizing and managing chemical suicides. These incidents are happening with increasing frequency across the Country. It is not a question of if, but when, we will see our first of these in Saratoga County. Multiple occurrences throughout New York State have had serious health consequences for responders. EMS Coordinator Mike McEvoy strongly recommends that all services laminate this reference card and place one in each of their response vehicles. Let’s not lose an EMS provider for failing to keep abreast of the dangers we all face out there!