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What IAED protocols are and why you need to adopt them

IAED protocols help calltakers ask the right questions, provide better service and ensure first-responder situational awareness

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International Academies of Emergency Dispatch (IAED) protocols guide dispatchers in asking the right questions.

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The following is paid content sponsored by Priority Dispatch.

By Police1 BrandFocus Staff

International Academies of Emergency Dispatch (IAED) protocols guide dispatchers in asking the right questions; provide better, more consistent, emergency dispatch service; and advance first-responder situational awareness.

Prior to the IAED protocol systems, dispatchers asked questions that varied according to the emergency communication center and in the process elicited incomplete and often inaccurate information about the caller’s situation. There was no universal protocol. There were no standards, resulting in not only poor service and anxious dispatchers and patients but, also, inefficient allocation of resources and less than desirable patient outcomes.

In 1979, industry innovator Jeffery Clawson, MD, an emergency room physician and medical director for the newly created 9-1-1 system at Salt Lake City Fire Department, sought to improve the emergency dispatch process. He pushed for the adoption of a standardized approach that could apply to medical and then, later, fire and police emergency dispatching. His ingenuity produced a protocol and Dispatch Life Support (DLS) process that dramatically changed how emergency dispatchers do their job.

What is the IAED?

Dr. Clawson created the IAED as a nonprofit standard-setting organization to continually improve protocol through research, field expertise and user experience. He established a College of Fellows and, in the years since, organized four distinct Standards Committees to oversee the medical, fire, and police protocols and the emergency communication nurse system (ECNS).

QA is an integral part of each discipline, along with individual certification and center accreditation. The IAED also, collectively, advocates for first responder-related research, and legislation to regulate the 9-1-1 profession through education, training, certification, and accreditation.

How do the protocols work?

The medical, fire, and police protocol system provides scripted questions to quickly identify the caller’s chief complaint. Once the dispatcher has established the type of emergency, further and more specific questioning—the Key Questions—lead to dispatching the most appropriate response and, when necessary, the delivery of relevant Post-Dispatch and Pre-Arrival Instructions, as well as important case completion information to assist the caller until response arrives. ECNS works in concert with an IAED certified emergency communication nurse (ECN), who navigates more than 200 symptom-based protocols to provide further assessment and to determine the optimal level of care for that specific patient.

There are now more than 3,500 communication centers worldwide that have implemented the medical, fire, and/or police protocols to deliver a more consistent service to the community and improve situational awareness for fire, EMS and police responders. The protocols are available in 16 languages and used in 44 countries including: Malaysia, China, Australia, Brazil, Austria, the Netherlands, Italy, Lithuania, Qatar, Canada, and the U.K.

How does the process work in the communication center?

The original protocols were published in cardsets, a format that is still available although since operationally surpassed by the Priority Dispatch Corp. (PDC) software ProQA Paramount. PDC provides research-based protocol solutions to emergency call centers adopting the medical, fire, and police systems.

ProQA is the powerhouse behind the IAED protocols. It helps dispatchers move quickly through the questions, arrive at the appropriate response, and guide dispatchers in providing all relevant DLS instructions. ProQA triages calls to better allocate resources, such as reserving ALS ambulances for high-acuity medical emergency calls.

LowCode, a software application developed by Priority Solutions interfaces with an agency’s CAD and ProQA to allow the ECNS nurse to navigate a series of symptom, gender, and age-specific logic protocols.

What are the benefits of adopting IAED protocols?

Protocols ensure every dispatcher, day in day out, asks consistent questions. For every call, regardless of situation, the public and first responders in the field can rely on dispatchers gathering and distributing reliable information.

These same protocols help dispatchers give “zero minute” help over the phone using the relevant pre- and post-arrival instructions. These instructions include childbirth and delivery and CPR for a suspected cardiac arrest, getting people to safety when trapped by a structure fire or stuck in a sinking vehicle, and securing the scene during an active assailant incident.

The IAED’s quality assurance program measures compliance of each individual and overall center performance. Data generated through ProQA and reviewed through the companion AQUA software ensure that your dispatchers are providing quality service in compliance with all standards established by the IAED. The complementary software works together to pinpoint specific training needs and liability risks, and helps you document continuous improvement efforts.

Public-safety communications centers continue to look for ways to improve call takers’ performance to better serve the community. Using consistent, universal IAED protocols and the associated software is the answer.

Learn more about ProQA Paramount’s features by watching this short demo.