Danville provides key 911 dispatch and emergency medical services

By RON SCOTT

Danville City Manager

Since January 2015, the Danville Fire Department (DFD) has been providing Emergency Medical Services (EMS) for all persons within the city limits who require emergency medical services. Services rendered by the DFD have included instances of successful childbirth, cardiovascular/pulmonary resuscitation (CPR), administration of drug antidotes to restore breathing, use of defibrillators to restore heartbeat, and a wide range of first aid or other treatments for health conditions or injuries.

Increasingly, these calls are related to drug overdoses and breathing cessation (requiring administration of a drug to restore breathing, as well as performing CPR or other medical services).

Danville is not alone in the provision of key emergency medical services, as they are also provided by Boyle County Emergency Medical Services (BCEMS). Both agencies have the same highly trained and certified Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) and Paramedics. The primary differences between the two is that only BCEMS transports patients to the hospital, and that within the city limits, the DFD is most often first to arrive on the scene. The services of both agencies significantly contributes to successful outcomes for those needing emergency medical services.

On average, the DFD responds in less than four minutes to any location within the city, for any type of call (car accident, fire, emergency medical service). That is a remarkable achievement.  The DFD now responds to an average of 1,000 calls each year just to provide emergency medical service.  

How did the DFD get into the emergency medical services business?  Several years ago the DFD recognized they were usually “first on the scene” and wished to immediately render medical aid if necessary. So, in late 2014, the Danville Fire Department initiated a discussion with BCEMS on how to best coordinate and deliver emergency medical services within the city. Mutual agreement was reached on prioritizing the emergency medical service agency response and treatment protocols as coordinated by our E911dispatch (with other first responders also usually dispatched).

In the real-time world of only a few short minutes, our highly-skilled E911 employees dispatch calls to DFD, BCEMS, Danville Police, Boyle County Sheriff, Boyle Emergency Management and/or others as necessary. The DFD and/or BCEMS provide timely emergency medical services at the scene.   

The outcome is that today, emergency medical services are provided in a timely way at the scene by the agency first responding. Our citizens benefit from the current, coordinated approach.

The City of Danville is working to further improve our already excellent E911 dispatch service, which dispatches multiple first responders on an average of 20,000 emergency 911 calls each year, by implementing “medical dispatch” services prior to Dec. 31, 2017.

“Medical dispatch” will have our certified E911 dispatch provide emergency medical instructions to callers in those instances where the caller or another at the scene can act on those instructions prior to the arrival of the DFD and/or BCEMS.

Our goal is to continue to improve our E911 dispatch and first-responder capabilities, to benefit all who live in Danville (and Boyle County). By working together, we can do more.