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Old 04-06-2008, 6:22 AM
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Default EMS Codes

I have noticed that Emporia and Lyon county are using some codes when dispatching EMS. I can't quite deciper them.

They use:

Alpha
Bravo
Charlie
Delta
Echo

Along with some numbers. I Googled and found some info on triage codes. But I am not sure how Emporia and Lyon county are using them.
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Old 04-06-2008, 10:32 AM
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Most likely they have started using a medical priority dispatching system- for more information click on this link.

http://www.emergencydispatch.org/art...PDS(Cady).html

Here are some codes that are used in that system...

Alpha Response--Non-life threatening, low priority. All units respond non-emergency.
Bravo Response--Non-life threatening, but a little more serious. First Responders respond lights and siren, Medic Unit responds non-emergency
Charlie Response--Potentially life threatening. All units respond emergency.
Delta Response--Life threatening. All units respond emergency.
Echo Response--Circling the drain. All units respond emergency.
Omega Response--Interfacility Transfer, non-emergency.
Omega-Delta Response--Interfacility Transfer, emergency.
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Old 04-10-2008, 9:55 AM
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As a matter of fact you are completly correct. We utilize EMD dispatchers who plug what the caller is telling them to a flip book which gives them a code. The numbers before and after the letter gives us what type of problem it is and the severity.
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Old 04-10-2008, 8:14 PM
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Thanks guys..

ksfirefighter can you explain the numbers? I can't remember one now but something like:

1 Delta 5 That is probably way off but you get the idea....
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Old 04-12-2008, 8:47 PM
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Well the first number is the type of chief complaint (ex. 1-abdominal pain, 7-burns, 17-fall, 31-unconscious, and so on) the letter is the severity of call starting with least critical(Omega: non-emergent assistance call, Alpha: non-emergent BLS call, Brovo: Emergent BLS, Charlie: Emergent ALS, Delta: Emergent ALS, Echo: Emergent ALS) then the next number is more info on chief complaint. For example 17 D-2 is an emergent response fall from more than 6ft. Did I explain it well? Let me know if you still have any questions.
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Old 04-13-2008, 8:09 AM
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Thanks ksfirefighter! That explains it! Kind of a complex system but I guess you learn the codes in time and it seems they usually say what is happening in addition to the code.

Does anyone know of a place online to see all the codes? Like 10 codes are all over the Internet but I have been unable to find the EMS codes. I have the letter codes and ksfirefighter gave some examples of the number codes but it would be nice to have a complete list. Thanks!
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Old 04-14-2008, 11:17 AM
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Default Found them!!

OK this lists the first number code... now I need to find the list for the second number code....

Note: EMS uses the Medical Priority Dispatch System card numbers, as follows, when dispatching incidents. Alpha/Bravo/Charlie/Delta/Echo indicate the severity of the incident and/or level of response, in ascending order.

1 Abdominal Pain
2 Allergies/Hives/Medical Reactions/Stings
3 Animal Bites/Attacks
4 Assault/Rape
5 Back Pain (Non-Traumatic)
6 Breathing Problems
7 Burns/Explosion
8 Carbon Monoxide/Inhalation/ Hazmat
9 Cardiac/Respiratory Arrest
10 Chest Pain
11 Choking
12 Convulsions/Seizures
13 Diabetic Problems
14 Drowning/Near Drowning/Diving Accident
15 Electrocution
16 Eye Problems/Injuries
17 Falls/Back Injuries (Traumatic)
18 Headache
19 Heart Problems
20 Heat/Cold Exposure
21 Hemorrhage/Lacerations
22 Industrial/Machinery Accidents
23 Overdose/Ingestion/Poisoning
24 Pregnancy/Childbirth/Miscarriage
25 Psychiatric/Suicide Attempt
26 Sick Person
27 Stabbing/Gunshot Wound
28 Stroke/CVA
29 Motor Vehicle Accident (MVA)
30 Traumatic Injuries (Specific)
31 Unconsciousness/Fainting (non-traumatic)
32 Unknown Problem (Man Down)
33 Palliative Care
34 Assist Fire
35 Assist Police
36 Air Medevac
37 Booked Service
38 P.R. Event
39 TEMS (Tactical EMS) Event
40 IRP (Incident Response Paramedic) Event
41 City Centre Team Event
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Old 04-14-2008, 11:21 AM
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FOUND IT!!

http://www.abqscan.com/ClawsonCodes.htm
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Old 05-10-2010, 3:47 PM
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I guess I am way late on my response to this post, I could not get the ClawsonCodes to work for me told me that I was forbidden....imagine that.
I do have a quick question tho and maybe someone can answer it for me... is this code pretty much standard nationwide (so to speak) I know they use it here in Missouri and wondered if it is the same or each department like law enforcement use their own?
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Old 05-10-2010, 10:49 PM
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Seems like a good way to make things more complicated than needed. I thought agencies were trying to get away from ten codes and start using plain speak. This seems to be going in the opposite direction. Haven't used it so I can't comment based on much other than my assumption of how this would work.
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Old 05-11-2010, 6:43 AM
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I think people are missing the point of the EMD codes. VERY few agencies actually air the codes, other than the Alpha/Bravo/Charlie response code etc. The codes are from the flip charts or CAD software as part of a system to help them get good information from the caller, get the units rolling with proper guidance on how severe the call is, and give pre-arrival instruction. Telling the units it's a Delta level call for an unconscious is enough and fits into the plain text suggestions. Telling them it's a 31-D-3 does not, and I don't see the need for it. Plus they will have to have a book in their hand to decipher it. Why? There was an agency near us that tried it...it lasted about a month as I recall. Then they went back to just the response code and telling them the type of call. And there are at least 3 different EMD providers....NAEMD, APCO and Powerphone. I'm pretty sure the codes and complaint numbers are not the same across them.
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Old 05-11-2010, 6:45 AM
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BTW from the list that was posted, only the first 33 are from the NAEMD protocols. The rest must be some local-only protocol.
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Old 05-11-2010, 7:00 AM
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One thing about these codes that make me laugh is that they are TRULY specific to one COMPANY, when the Federal Government is pushing for the elimination of codes nationwide to aid in interoperability. So much for public/private cooperation. These EMD protocols are supposed to be setting a national standard, but they don't pay any attention or give any respect to the direction that radio traffic should be going, in fact, it's just the opposite.

Before people try to defend it to me, I am a EMT-B, EMT-B Instructor/Coordinator, EMT-B State Examiner, EMD certified, over 13 years of EMS dispatch and field experience in an urban 9-1-1 system (with 3 years PD dispatch, 3 years private EMS and 10 years volunteer firefighting experience as well), and give regular lectures on EMS communications at the college level. I am intimately familiar with the EMD programs out there, and, quite honestly, none of them can come close to a trained and well experienced EMT or Paramedic applying their knowledge and experience in processing a 9-1-1 call for medical assistance.
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Old 05-11-2010, 7:38 PM
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Oh but I must disagree with you on that....having been an EMT myself for several years and now involved in emergency communications for over 2 decades, being a field tech has very little bearing on dispatching and using EMD protocols. While the background is helpful in knowing the terminology and procedures, I found it a great handicap trying to apply field knowledge. It just gets in the way. You try to diagnose, and the EMD protocols are not about diagnosing, but acting on the information you are given to get responders going and give some basic aid instructions based on that information...not a hands-on assessment a field unit is used to. Properly trained dispatchers who use the protocols as instructed and by the book are a much better asset. Having a field background really is not much benefit.
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Old 05-11-2010, 9:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dgruver911 View Post
Oh but I must disagree with you on that....having been an EMT myself for several years and now involved in emergency communications for over 2 decades, being a field tech has very little bearing on dispatching and using EMD protocols. While the background is helpful in knowing the terminology and procedures, I found it a great handicap trying to apply field knowledge. It just gets in the way. You try to diagnose, and the EMD protocols are not about diagnosing, but acting on the information you are given to get responders going and give some basic aid instructions based on that information...not a hands-on assessment a field unit is used to. Properly trained dispatchers who use the protocols as instructed and by the book are a much better asset. Having a field background really is not much benefit.
Well, when you only have 5 ALS trucks for a city of 500,000+, and the cards and questions are designed to lead you to an ALS response for the majority of calls, the ability to discern what should get it and what shouldn't is a skill that can't be taught-it must be learned from experience.

The best example I can give is that the cards consider a 19 year old person passed out from alcohol, and a 75 year old person passed out from cardiac related syncope to be the same call, and get an ALS/BLS response. If I have to choose which one's getting the ALS, it's not going to be based on which call came in first, it's going to be based on my experience. If you listen to my system, the majority of ALS/BLS responses result in the BLS crew making the statement "cancel ALS", on calls that they never should have been sent on anyway, because the people putting the calls in are afraid to deviate from the department's accepted EMD recommendations (which in this case happens to be APCO).

The fact remains though that Medical Priority has designed a system that completely ignores the recommendations of NIMS 700 and ICS 100 with regards to the recommendation of using plain English and eventually completely phasing out codes. And the sad thing is that they will tell you their way is better. My system uses plain English, and if someone comes in on mutual aid, they know what they are responding on......if I had to respond mutual aid to a system that uses these codes, I wouldn't have the first clue what I was responding on. We have covered cities 50+ miles away, and been on stand by for other cities much further away, so it's not like it's not a possibility.
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Last edited by Citywide173; 05-11-2010 at 9:42 PM..
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Old 05-15-2010, 1:12 AM
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Obviously someone wanted to get their name out there and implement a more complicated system. Code green, yellow, red, blue, black, and orange followed by the compliant must have been too simple. Why not mix things up with a nice long list of codes.
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Old 05-15-2010, 4:33 AM
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What ever happened to KISS. This always works the best. When you use plain language there is no mistake as to what the chief complaint is. I am a former dispatcher, EMT-1A and currently a peace officer, I also instruct NIMS/SIMS ICS 100, 200, 700, and 800. I started my career when we were moving away from clear text and going to 10 codes, now some 30 years later we are moving away from codes and back to plain text. All agencies public and need to follow the NIMS/SIMS rules as they have proven themselves over the past 25-30 years in California with our various fire departments.

Last edited by GrumpyGuard; 05-15-2010 at 5:21 AM.. Reason: To correct mispellings
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Old 05-15-2010, 12:46 PM
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I was a FF several years ago back when they still used the 10 code and the ICAO spelling alphabet aslo called NATO phonetic alphabet or the international radiotelephony spelling alphabet and just before they started having our dept become first responders only to allow a department some 30 miles away to respond to our calls...unless the patient requested us onscene to carry them the 30 miles.
I was ok with this and still am I think that using abreviations are a good thing it allows us to speak quickly and still get our point accross..however I may be double talking a bit now since it is getting where I don't understand it I would love to be able to get back in the field agian if my finances would allow me too, but there is just so much more today to have to learn.
Is there a place on the internet where a person can go and read these codes and their meanings?
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