By Anthony Guido
It’s hard to believe that NAVIGATOR is here. It doesn’t seem like a year since we were in Las Vegas. When I boarded the plane for NAVIGATOR 2015, I was both excited and scared. My wife and I were expecting our first child, and I hadn’t exactly planned on leaving her behind when she was seven months along. Luckily, our daughter waited until daddy was home, and baby Cheyenne greeted us in the wee hours of May 31. The phrase “what if it were family?” has certainly hit home in the last year, and I am grateful a center dedicated to using the Medical Priority Dispatch System (MPDS) is only a phone call away.
Helping people in an emergency has been the foundation of my career, which started in 2001 as a dispatcher for two local fire departments and one police department. Because there was no protocol system in place, we dispatched working fires by the seat of our pants, hoping we had sent the right people to the scene and that they would arrive home safely at the end of the day. No matter the call—gas leaks, brush fires, structural fires—we simply obtained basic information and sent the cavalry. We waited to hear if our “response gamble” had paid off and, at the same time, worried if we had gathered and then relayed all the necessary information. Without a protocol to assist in gaining this information and without a standard recording system, the answer was more often “no.”
Implementation of the Academy’s protocol gave us the security of gathering the essential information and relaying that to responders. The information record systems help us tell callers “exactly what to do next” and let us report to agency members and leadership. It has simplified the After Action Reviews (AAR) process. These reviews are vital to high-performing agencies, and if your agency isn’t using the Priority Dispatch System as part of your AARs, then jump on board and see what you can do to make it happen.
Having a great center, however, is more than implementing the protocols. That’s a start, but to be really good, the agency must provide the training to motivate emergency dispatchers to deliver the best possible service, provide consistent QI/QA, and work toward accreditation. For managers, this means supporting the drive of QI/QA staff, making sure they have the tools and time required, and becoming aware of their strengths in working to improve and mentor calltakers and dispatchers. With the support of management, QI/QA staff can develop expertise to elevate performance.
Greatness can be achieved, and the Academy helps you find it at NAVIGATOR.
Opportunity is everywhere at NAVIGATOR. While the educational sessions are at the forefront, the conference entertainment is also an anticipated highlight. The big event this year starts with an outdoor party in the Orchard Terrace overlooking the historic Potomac River. Jugglers, face painters, balloon makers, games and prizes, and blow-up slides are only the beginning. Fireworks are the prelude to the “Rock the Block” After Party where a music and dance explosion will continue inside the Woodrow Wilson Ballroom.
This will be a night to remember.
Of course, don’t forget the all-important networking with colleagues and the opportunity to keep conversations going through the Academy’s social media outlets. It’s all there. It’s all for you. NAVIGATOR is the place you want to be.
Visit us at https://navigator.emergencydispatch.org.