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Fire Department Adopts New EMS First Responder Protocols

Later this month, the Springfield Fire Department will adopt new EMS first responder protocols. It's an effort to save money and to save lives. KSMU's Michele Skalicky has more.

The new protocols will go into effect August 18th. They came about during the city's budget process earlier this year when cuts were having to be made and the fire department looked into ways to cut costs.

Currently, when a call comes in, the fire department will respond automatically to two call types: a motor vehicle accident with injuries and a cardiac arrest. All other calls are automatically transferred to an EMS organization where a protocol check is done. If the call meets the criteria, the call is send back to the fire department. David Hall is assistant Springfield Fire Chief.

"The new system that we're looking at now lists ten most critical type calls where we feel that we can have an impact in saving lives. Those ten, whenever a call comes in to 911, we'll automatically dispatch it, so it's actually going to make our responses to those most critical ones faster."

The 10 most critical type calls are for unconfirmed unconsciousness or cardiac arrest, chest pain or heart attack, uncontrolled bleeding from an injury, stroke, difficulty breathing, imminent childbirth, gunshot or stabbing, burns, electrocution or lightning strike and drowning.

The calls that don't meet the criteria—those that don't involve life-threatening injuries or illnesses--will get rolled over to the ambulance service.

Hall says they'll review the effects of the new protocol after the 1st full month, after 3 full months and after a year to see how it's working.

"One of the things that's going to be important is, we really want this program as we go through it to accomplish two specific goals: One is, we want to reduce the response time to those critical ones where that we can make a difference in serving the citizens and getting help there faster. The second one is the reason this all came about to begin with as we were looking at is that we can have a cost saving as well."

Hall says by limiting responses to true emergencies, the department should see a reduction in costs.