A Madison County dispatcher monitors over six screens which provide information for emergencies. Information may come in the form of text, maps or pictures. When a response vehicle goes in route to a scene, the progress of the response is mapped by a computer-aided design system (CAD). Dispatchers can assure a caller that help is not only on the way, but they can advise on a time for arrival.

Madison County 911 Dispatch Expands Features

When a person dials 911, they are in need. A trained dispatcher will answer the phone and immediately ask, “What is your emergency?” Depending on the caller’s needs, the dispatcher will begin to assign the most appropriate agencies to respond to that caller’s emergency. The Madison County Sheriff’s 911 Dispatch Office is directly connected to the sheriff’s department, local police departments, the county’s six fire departments, two city ambulances, two medical centers, search and rescue, the Forest Service, fish and game department, Bureau of Land Management and Motor Carrier Services.

In addition to getting the proper emergency help to a caller, as of January 2018, the 911 dispatch center has added an additional feature when a caller has a medical emergency. Madison County has put into place a component known as “emergency medical dispatch.” Now, the dispatcher will ask you to stay on the line and describe the emergency. Based on extensive training, the dispatcher can assist you with your issue until emergency services arrive. For example, you have dialed 911 because your child is choking on an object. You don’t know what to do. The dispatcher will walk you through the steps necessary to try to clear your child’s airway. Also known as the Heimlich Maneuver, the dispatcher has the directions for this procedure at their fingertips. In the meantime, the dispatcher is communicating with responders to provide details on the patient. Many other medical scenarios and potential mitigations are available to the dispatcher.

“A lot of training is provided for a dispatcher,” said Linda Holt, Madison County Communications Coordinator. “Each person has 14 weeks of on-the-job instruction before they go to the Law Enforcement Academy in Helena, Montana. While they are there for two weeks, three full days are set aside for EMD training. All this training is specifically to assist our residents in the time of an emergency.”

Providing emergency medical dispatch to the county’s 911 system is a significant step for our residents. Now a caller can begin to assist a loved one, friend or stranger before the ambulance arrives. Before, one might have stood by feeling helpless. You think your spouse is having a heart attack and they are not breathing… but you don’t know CPR -cardiopulmonary resuscitation. The dispatcher now can share the steps with you over the phone. These early interventions may lead to a better outcome for the patient. Adding EMD to the 911 system takes Madison County into a future of providing top medical response for our residents; a very beneficial step for patients, providers and residents.



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The Madisonian

65 N. MT Hwy 287
Ennis, MT 59729

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