Why do you need Good Communications or Medical Dispatchers at large events?

Why do you need Good Communications or Medical Dispatchers at large events?

Why do you need good communications or medical dispatchers at large events? In short.. Good Communications + Good Dispatchers = Good Incident Management, which can only be positive for your patients, right?

As the GB-EMS Group gears up for one of its largest event of the year, we are going to have a brief look into the importance of having competent medical dispatchers at large events and how utilising robust and effective communication equipment is key to improving an appropriate level of patient care.

The GB-EMS Group usually includes at least one experienced medical dispatcher and an event control service to its larger event provisions, with the aim of working with event organisers or event management teams to dispatch and appropriate medical response to any participants or event staff member in need; especially when covering events over large distances or when events have multiple medical responding resources (which may include, rapid response vehicles, cycle response units, forward incident teams and ambulances). Having a central person managing these provisions is key. Our dispatchers are usually “Medically” trained in addition to being “Dispatch” trained, so they are able to better judge the severity of a medical emergency and thus allocate the appropriate resources to the scene. Our dispatchers also provide a key link between medical centres and crews and able to better manage whether a patient can be assessed on site or if they need immediate hospital care. Having the correct member of staff as the dispatcher is only part of the foundation of effective event and medical control.

Effective, and robust communication equipment is also vital. The old saying “You get what you pay for” most certainly applies here. The GB-EMS Group operates a range of equipment to keep their crews in touch with control (and each other), these are deployed as required in the most appropriate situations. These communications systems include: Analogue and Digital VHF and UHF Radios, Specialist Radios that use 3g and 4g data networks and vehicle based phones and messaging systems. Having several options of communication means our crews are very rarely (if ever) unable to contact control or each other for backup, or to report scene information. Effectively being able to communicate exact locations and more detailed patient conditions is vital to prompt and effective responses. In addition, all our vehicles are GPS tracked in real time, giving our dispatchers the ability to see where all resources are at an event and help crews reach exact locations quicker.

Several challenges do often add complications to event communications, for example, terrain and built environments can cause some communication issues, however, given the range of communications systems available to our team, It’s unlikely that we can’t find a solution that works. Sometimes in loud and crowded areas our teams often find it hard to hear instructions over radios. In these situations our staff are often given ear pieces or headsets to wear to make sure information is clear and heard. Long distances can sometimes present a challenge for radio communications. Here our team sets up radio “repeaters” in key locations to provide additional range. In addition to high quality equipment, a good initial set up and test across the event site, having a medical team that is led by a good quality dispatcher, backed up with robust and tested communication equipment is paramount to increasing the quality, performance and effectiveness of any event medical team.

Planning and expecting the unexpected is also a hallmark for a high quality Event/Medical Control provision, it’s not just about the Gucci Kit, if you don’t have suitable contingency planning in place in case of power failure, flooding in your control point or any number of unexpected situations, your high quality equipment and experienced dispatcher may be as much use as a chocolate teapot. We’ll address contingency planning in one of our future blog posts..

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