Village News - Also serving the communities of De Luz, Rainbow, Camp Pendleton, Pala and Pauma

By Steve Abbott
North County Fire Protection District 

Fire Chief's Report – How NCFPD is handling increase in calls for EMS services


Last updated 11/5/2018 at 9:16am

North County Fire Protection District

Note: chart does not depict fractions of percent; actual increase in calls from 2012 to 2016 calculated at 36.1 percent.

In last week's paper we ran a story about the impact of the closure of Fallbrook Hospital on Fire and Emergency Medical Service (EMS) operations. That chart depicted some formatting errors. The corrected version is provided today.

We have also received some questions about what North County Fire Protection District has done in response to this dramatic increase in calls for EMS services. In addition to funding a third ambulance and reclassifying certain positions to less costly single-role or "non-safety" status, we have taken other steps to streamline operations.

When calls for service only are determined to be non-life threatening, we will send the closest Basic Life Support engine when appropriate, which keeps our paramedic engines available for emergency response. For those same non-life-threatening calls, we work with our customers to arrange for non-emergency transportation, which keeps our ambulances available for emergency response.

When we repeatedly encounter customers with non-life threatening health conditions, we refer them to our Health Services Referral Program, which plugs them in to local nonprofit and community organizations that can help them better manage their health challenges so that they don't worsen to the extent that they need to call 9-1-1 as frequently. The Foundation for Senior Care is a major contributor to making this particular program function so well.

Moving forward, we are exploring adding a medical director to our regional dispatch center so that we can further refine our call triaging capabilities. Our vision is to have a system wherein customers receive the right resources at the right place and right time the first time. With such capabilities in the future we could work directly with nurse practitioners to interview customers at the time of call, arranging for a doctor's appointment, non-medical transportation, prescriptions, etc.

Approximately one year ago we explored a telehealth opportunity which would have allowed the emergency room physician to conduct a live stream video chat with patients in the field, potentially eliminating the need for transportation altogether. This will be one of the opportunities we will be exploring again in the future once changes in State scope of practice will more readily allow for use of such technologies."


Reader Comments


Our Family of Publications Includes:

Powered by ROAR Online Publication Software from Lions Light Corporation
© Copyright 2018

Rendered 11/10/2018 09:05