#GMVEMSC: FW: Updated Dispatch Protocols COVID-19: EMS and Law Enforcement

Processes and recommendations below were developed jointly with GMVEMSC, MMRS, RPAB, Public Health, law enforcement, and dispatch.  Remember that dispatch centers are critical infrastructure!  A list of precautions for the center and your personnel is below.


Each agency and Dispatch Center must determine their own course of action, and should discuss this with the medical director, but effective immediately we recommend that public safety dispatch centers throughout the region incorporate the following guidance.  This has been sent to every dispatch center for which we have contacts.


Dispatch Center Processes for COVID-19 (fire, EMS, and law enforcement calls)

·         Every caller, regardless of call-type and including law enforcement, fire, and EMS calls should be asked the following:

1.     Does anyone in the household or location have a fever, new onset cough or change in existing cough, or shortness of breath/difficulty breathing?

2.     Has anyone in the household or location had contact with a known case of COVID-19 or coronavirus?

·         Questions regarding travel are not recommended.

o    These questions must not delay dispatching any urgently needed response. 

o    Asking those questions post-dispatch is preferred for fire/EMS calls to avoid delays in the response.

o    In all cases of a positive answer to 1 or 2, advise all responding crews (via MDC or over the air) that "Respiratory protection indicated."

·        Respiratory protection indicated is preferred since PPE can sound like PD over the radio.

o    In all cases of a positive response to question 1 or 2, and after dispatching any urgently needed response, instructions to the caller should include:

1.     If you are able, please come outside to meet the responders.

·        For EMS calls to facilities such as nursing homes, shelters, and jails/correctional facilities, ask them if feasible to bring the patient to the door.

·        Especially for calls when EMS will have to enter, is there a preferred entrance, such as the door closest to the patient?  This will minimize EMS time in the facility and contact with others.

2.     If you are unable to come outside but can come to the door, please do so to meet the responders.

3.     If you are unable to do either, one of our responders will come inside to assist you.

·         Dispatch Centers should not announce on the air anything that indicates a patient has a disease.  


Additional Considerations for Dispatch Centers

·         Consider, in concert with agency chiefs in your area, developing procedures to be used at the discretion of the dispatch center when call volumes peak for:

1.     "Call-stacking" (such as used during major storms).

2.     Having agencies monitor stacked calls and direct resource use.

3.     Not using mutual aid for minor calls.

4.     Having an agency supervisor available for guidance and further direction. 

5.     Not sending a response for very minor complaints.

·         Consider developing or expanding procedures for taking reports (particularly law enforcement reports) on calls that do not actually require response by telephone or internet.

·         Dispatch centers and dispatch/call-taking personnel are critical infrastructure!  Take all appropriate precautions including:

1.       Restrict access; only allow entry by essential persons.

2.       Frequent hand hygiene.  Hand-washing with soap and water is slightly more protective against COVID than use of hand sanitizer.  Use both frequently.

3.       Remind each other to perform hand hygiene and not to touch your face.

4.       Sanitize work areas frequently, especially headsets, keyboards, desktops, telephones, etc.

5.       Don't forget to sanitize your personal cell phone.

6.       Anyone who is ill must not report for work.  

7.       Consider developing employee screening before each person reports to work.  Anyone who is ill should not be allowed to enter the dispatch center.

·         Employee screening processes should include a standard for when the employee may return to work, such as requiring that the employee be symptom-free for 72 hours without use of medications (such as Tylenol, Motrin, or cough suppressant) that mask symptoms. 

8.       Consider the potential for some personnel (e.g., administrators) to work from home.



                           David N. Gerstner

                           MMRS/RMRS/EP Coordinator

                           Department of Fire  I  City of Dayton

                           300 N. Main St.  I  Dayton, Ohio 45402

       Office 937.333.4551  I  Fax 937.333.4561  I  www.daytonohio.gov

       24/7 Pager: 937-227-8705 or E-mail 9372278705@archwireless.net
       Cell  937.776.4410

                          david.gerstner@daytonohio.gov  http://DaytonMMRS.org



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