A life-and-death call

Photo of Jennifer Brown and Shane Write, communications specialists.
Communications specialists Jennifer Brown and Shane Wright are shown in the dispatch center at the Idaho State EMS Communications Center.

Communication specialists Jennifer Brown and Shane Wright at the Idaho State EMS Communications Center were extremely busy one January morning as they managed the work associated with a major snow storm that snarled up traffic and made travel difficult around the state.

They were dispatching snowplows, deicers and sanding trucks statewide, as well as relaying reports of vehicle slide-offs and crashes to law enforcement. They also were getting ready to announce the closure of Idaho 21 in what’s commonly called “avalanche alley.”

But just then, an urgent call came in from the Elmore County Sheriff’s Office. It was an Emergency Medical Dispatch, which meant someone was having a medical emergency on the end of that call. State EMS communication specialists are trained to use predetermined medical protocols to dispatch correct resources to an emergency and to give medical instructions to victims and bystanders before first responders arrive and take over. Continue reading “A life-and-death call”