Beaufort Co. EMS improvements continue to roll out

WASHINGTON, N.C. (WNCT) – Improvements to EMS in Beaufort County continue to roll out with the launch of a new system in the 911 Communication Center.

Instead of just answering calls, dispatchers now ask questions to figure out which responders need to be called, while also giving instructions to the person on the line while they wait for help to arrive.

“Just because you’re being asked all these questions and being given all these instructions, help is already on the way,” said Vic Williams, the 911 Center Director.

Williams said his employees went through about three months of training before actually giving medical instructions to people over the phone. He said the company who runs the new system came to train employees firsthand.

“They sent instructors in here,” he said. “They’ve all been trained in emergency medical dispatch. They’ve all been involved in hands on training with the computer system.”

Williams said dispatchers can give instructions to people going through medical emergencies like cardiac arrest, bleeding, and even child birth. In the first day, he said they utilized the new system about four times.

John Flemming, the EMS Director in Beaufort County, said the changes aren’t only helping patients, but also first responders.

“We’re prioritizing and making sure we’re getting the right resources, and the closest resources, to the most urgent call,” Flemming said.

There are always three dispatchers in the 911 center in the county. Williams said in the rare case that all three are giving instructions to callers and another 911 call comes in, one of the dispatchers will have to place the person they were talking to on hold.

Williams said while there are certainly going to be learning curves, he is proud of where the county is going.

“If you can save one life, it makes it all worth it,” he said.

Surrounding counties like Pitt and Martin already utilize similar systems.

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