X. A Call
You must be completely confident with handling a call. Of course, you are not expected to do everything right your first time, but you definitely are expected to know everything. This would be the time to really use your dispatcher. Practice with him or her. It doesn't have to even be a training call, just ask for a scenario and go through the steps you would follow.
Each call is given its own unique six-digit number. The first number is the last number of the current year, the next two numbers are the month, and the last three numbers is the number call we are up to in that month. For example: If we were up to the 13th call in December 2002, the call number would be 212013.
Ways of Getting a Call
An emergency call can come in through any of the three lines (5858, 5859 or 5850). This is why it is vital that at least one line is always free.
The patient could just walk in. That's just one reason why the dispatcher's office should always be neat and quiet.
If a patient walks in:
- Note the time.
- Clear the dispatcher's office.
- Notify the crew chief.
This means that a crewmember or the entire crew was out and encountered an emergency. They can report it to the base using their radio.
Yes, sometimes even New York City needs us. The NYPD or FDNY EMS may ask us to respond to a call. While you're on the phone, get all the information about the call as you normally would. Get the following information from the caller:
- His or her name, badge number or dispatcher's number
- The job number
Put the caller on hold. Make sure that we have a crew chief on shift (not a crew chief trainee) and a driver (by looking at the crew board). The crew chiefs will then make the decision of whether or not we will respond, based primarily on whether the emergency is located within our response area. Under no circumstances is anyone but a crew chief allowed to decide that we will respond to this type of call. If no crew chief is available, the dispatcher or trainee can attempt to contact BC 50 or BC 51 if they are on campus. If not, then we cannot respond to the call.
Our Response Area
We can respond to emergencies only in the following locations:
- Brooklyn College campus
- P.S. 152
- Midwood High School
- Hillel House
- Newman Center
- Student Center
Under no circumstances can we answer a call in a private house.
If a call is out of our response area, write down all the information as you normally would and tell the caller that we cannot respond. If the caller is not from emergency services, tell him or her to dial 911 or the local volunteer ambulance service. Then let the crew chief know about the call and log it in the log book and the call log book.
Procedures During a Call
When answering the phone, stay calm so that you won't miss any important information. If the caller is hysterical, your confidence will reassure him or her. It is your responsibility, regardless of the condition of the caller, to ask the right questions and get all the necessary information.
- Get your clipboard. While the caller is on the phone, ask the first four questions on the call log sheet in the order they appear.
- Telephone number the person is calling from. This piece of information is vital because if we get disconnected for any reason, we must be able to reestablish communication as quickly as possible.
- Location of emergency. This is pretty obvious. We need to know exactly where the patient is so that we can respond. The caller can give you both a room number and a building or a general area (e.g., by the bike rack on Campus Road or on the front steps of Boylan Hall).
- Nature of emergency. Again, it should be apparent why we need this info. The crew needs to know the severity of the emergency as well as what type of equipment they will need. If the emergency is severe, ask the caller if the patient is conscious, breathing, etc. Write down whatever the caller mentions. If the patient fell down and is having difficulty breathing, don't write just "fall." The crew needs to bring oxygen and if they have to come back to the office to get it, the delay could be dangerous.
- Name of person calling. This is the last thing you should ask for.
- Now, tell the caller that you are sending a crew out right away. Hang up and write the time that the call came in on the call log sheet by "RCVD" (Received).
From this point on, no one is to write anything in the log book. You are only working from the call log sheet. If anyone has to sign in or out, it must be done on the call log sheet. Later, you can transfer it to the log book, but only once the call is over and the crew is finished with the paperwork.
- Tell your dispatcher about the call, even though he or she should have been listening on the other phone.
- Tell the crew chief (not attendant, not driver, not a nosey member) about the call. If the crew chief is in the office, walk over and tell him or her. If the crew chief is out, contact him or her by radio. The message that you will give will be: Disp: "Please be advised that we have an emergency." The crew chief will then ask you for the nature and location. Tell him or her exactly what the caller told you.
Disp: "There is a female with difficulty breathing in 3420 Boylan Hall."
- If the crew chief gives you any instructions, follow them immediately. For example, if he or she asks you to notify BC Unit 1 and tell him or her to meet the crew chief at the scene, then do it and do it fast. Don't forget any of the instructions the crew chief gives you. If necessary, write them down and/or ask the crew chief to repeat anything you missed.
- The crew will be throwing 10-codes at you right and left, so be sure to know what to do with them. Remember, repeat the 10-code and state the time. Then, log the time on the call log sheet. If the code does not appear on the right side of the sheet, write the 10-code and the time under "List any comments or unusual occurrences."
- If the crew asks for hospital statuses, see when they were obtained last. If it was more than four hours ago (or if the crew member asks for more recent statuses):
- Ask the crewmember to "stand by" (10-6).
- Call the hospital statuses number and follow the same procedure. Tell the person on the line that you are in the middle of an emergency.
- Get back to the crewmember and let them know the statuses.
- If the statuses were obtained recently, you just have to let the crew know what they are.
Disp: "Hospital statuses as of 12:21: Kings County is TOTAL, Brookdale is EDP and all the rest are OPEN."
- If the crew goes to the hospital, they will tell you they are "10-82" and give you the name of the hospital, along with some other information. Just repeat everything they say and state the time.
Med-l: "We're 10-82 to Brookdale with 1 female patient and an escort."
Disp: "10-4, you're 10-82 to Brookdale with 1 female patient and an escort at 10:24."
- On the call log sheet, write down the hospital name and the time near "10-82," and list anything else that goes along with this code under "Comments."
- When the crew is done, someone will give you a "10-98" or a "10-99" code, usually accompanied by a "10-2." At this point, you must repeat the following message over the air:
"10-4, you are 10-98 at (state time), this is station KMB-268, dispatcher (your squad #)."
If you get another 10-code at the same time as the 10-98, do the same thing.
Med-l: "We're 10-93, 10-98, 10-2."
Disp: "10-4, you're 10-93, 10-98 and 10-2 at 13:34, station KMB-268, dispatcher 100."
You don't have to memorize this. It can be found on a piece of paper near the base station.
Now, just sit back and wait for the crew to return. Remember, there is still no writing in the log book.
You survived the call, but it's not completely over yet.
Finish the Call Log Sheet
- The crew will give you a long sheet of paper called a PCR (a Pre-hospital Care Report). Right in the middle of the sheet (at the top) is a number. Write that number on your call log sheet near "PCR #" (at the top left).
- Make sure that you have written the date on the sheet.
- Write the first initial and last name of the crew chief and the dispatcher. Write the squad number of each person where it says "No."
- Finish the PCR.
- While you have the PCR in your hand, fill in the information that is missing from the top. This may include the "Agency Code" (which is 07606 and can be found on the dispatcher's desk), the "Location Code" (7095-Kings County) and the "Run Number" (the call number from your call log sheet). Then fill in the 10-codes (using military time). Although the PCR does not list 10-63, 10-88, etc., you can follow along if you know what each of the 10-codes means.
- "Call received"= RCVD
- "Enroute" = 10-63
- "Arrived at scene" = 10-88
- "From scene" = 10-82
- "At destination" = 10-81
- "In service" = 10-98
- "In quarters" = 10-2
Before you go any further, if you are a trainee, write the following steps on a piece of paper first, and let your dispatcher check them before you proceed to write in the real books.
Now you can go to the log book. Remember, everything here must be in chronological order, so if anyone signed in or out during the call be sure to include that in the order of the call. For all the call information, write down the time and then the 10-code followed by the call number.
13:01 RCVD, call #203000.
13:03 10-63, call #203000.
13:04 D. Stern out as disp., Y. Abraham in as disp.
13:05 10-88, call #203000.
13:19 10-82 to Maimonides Hospital with 1 unescorted female patient.
If more than one 10-code happened at the same time, you could write them on the same line.
Call Log Database
The call log database is next.
- Ask the dispatcher on duty to sign in and fill in the info. The "Patient Name" can be found on the top of the PCR. The "Call Type" is the "nature of emergency" from your Call Log Sheet.
- Write the times of the 10-codes in the appropriate columns. If a 10-code doesn't apply (for example, 10-82), just skip it. "Disposition" refers to the patient's status at the end of the call. If the patient went to the hospital, write down the name of the hospital here. If the patient refused medical attention (RMA), write down "10-93." The crew chief's "EMT #" can be found at the bottom of the PCR. "SFEO" refers to the patient — was he or she a student, faculty member, employee or other? You can ask the crew chief for this info, as well as for patient diagnosis. Finally, put the dispatcher's name in the last column.
- Prepare a new call log sheet for the clipboard. Write the next call number on the top.
- Take the call log sheet for the call and staple it to the PCR. Then put both in the PCR box on the dispatcher's desk.
Emergency calls can come in different ways, and there are some things to do in each case that are different:
- Security: On the call log sheet, the "telephone number" is "5511." The "name of person calling" is the officer's name.
- Walk-ins: The "location of emergency" is "walk-in." Put a line through "telephone number" and "name of person calling."
- Flag down: The "name of person calling" is the crewmember's name or squad number. Write "flag down" by "telephone number."
- 911: Write "422-7393" by "telephone number" and write the person's dispatch number by "name of person calling."