By Scott Freitag
When the pandemic swine flu story broke in April 2009, Dr. Clawson pulled together experts in EMS and EMD to develop new and updated tools for use in the emerging epidemic. So intense was his sense of urgency that a “lockdown” work session was held during NAVIGATOR, and no one left until the committee had a solution that could be distributed to the world at no charge.
The result was the Severe Respiratory Infection (SRI) Tool modified from the Academy’s SRI Symptoms Surveillance and Crew Notification pop-up screen already in ProQA, making it more consistent with swine flu signs and symptoms. The SRI signs and symptoms checklist was made available in all then-current language versions of the MPDS.
One month later, a new protocol—Protocol 36: Pandemic Flu—was added to the protocols along with an 8-page training guide that was issued to ProQA and cardset users of the MPDS worldwide via the Academy and Priority Dispatch Corp. websites. The new Protocol 36, in cardset format along with the training guide, was also made available free of charge to communication centers globally, regardless of Academy affiliation.
Dr. Clawson recognized the importance of experts poised to develop and issue dispatch-relevant information in response to international crisis and in turn organized the Academy’s CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear) Fast Track Committee of the Council of Standards.
In 2014, members modified the SRI Tool to the Emerging Infectious Disease Surveillance (EIDS) Tool (SRI/MERS/Ebola) following the initial Ebola outbreak. The EIDS Tool was released in ProQA on Aug. 8, 2014, and soon after that was also available in cardset form at no cost.
This tool is ever evolving and improving under the watchful guidance of the CBRN Fast Track Committee, which received the Dr. Jeff Clawson Leadership Award at NAVIGATOR 2015.
That’s not all the Academy has provided at no charge to any center.
Police Protocol 136: Active Assailant (Shooter) and the Accelerator Stuck & Can’t Stop Vehicle Protocol were also released for free in manual cardset versions.
The Active Assailant (Shooter) Protocol, developed in cooperation with the National Tactical Officers Association (NTOA) and released in December 2012, was made available to all emergency communication centers in addition to a Special Procedures Briefing with information to direct callers in lifesaving procedures before an incident occurred.
The Accelerator Stuck & Can’t Stop Vehicle Protocol was developed in 2010 in immediate response to a driver’s inability to stop the vehicle from accelerating because the gas pedal was stuck. The protocol can be used by calltakers in all three disciplines (police, fire, and medical).
The protocol was put to test in November 2012 when Kelly Stoehr called 9-1-1 because she couldn’t stop or slow her vehicle accelerating at a high rate of speed along a New York interstate. Orange County (N.Y.) Dispatcher James Ward provided the PAIs that helped her to come to a full stop and out of harm’s way.
The Academy also makes it easy for members to participate in the protocol process—also at no cost—through a Proposal for Change (PFC). A PFC gives members a way to introduce changes to standards in an orderly manner that (after meticulous review and discussion) may be incorporated and provided to all users of the protocols throughout the world.
The Academy will always monitor international events and develop the most effective approaches to emergency communications. The results represent a crucial function in readiness and response starting at the level of communication based on belief, not the lure of dollar signs.