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MEASURING CALL VOLUME

Starting in October 2015, the Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department (FEMS) began using National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Standard 1710 (please click here to access NFPA Codes and Standards) performance measures for data reporting purposes. Previously, FEMS used performance measures recommended by other authorities, including the International City and County Managers Association (ICMA). 
 
As part of this new effort, FEMS needed to categorize how emergency calls received by District’s 9-1-1 Center (the Office of Unified Communications or the “OUC”) are grouped and classified for dispatching purposes to align with NFPA Standard 1710 measures and FEMS Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). To accomplish this, FEMS now uses call “Groups” and “Classes” that sort calls into categories. Each category is matched with NFPA Standard 1710 measures and FEMS KPIs.
 
Group defines the type of call. Call Groups include EMS (G1), Fire (G2) and Other (G3). Calls are grouped by a series of 9-1-1 call taker questions. EMS calls (G1) are grouped using the Medical Priority Dispatch System (MPDS). Fire calls (G2) are grouped using the Fire Priority Dispatch System (FPDS). Other calls (G3) are grouped into special categories not included in the MPDS and FPDS data structure.
 
Class defines the priority of call. Call Classes include “Lower Priority” (C1), “Higher Priority” (C2) and “Highest Priority” (C3). Calls are classified (prioritized) by a series of 9-1-1 call taker questions to establish urgency. 
 
  • Lower Priority calls (C1) are “not time sensitive,” meaning delayed response by FEMS emergency vehicles will not impact call outcome. “Lower Priority” calls are considered “non-life threatening.” EMS calls with patient complaint of “headache” or “back pain” are examples of “Lower Priority” (C1) EMS calls. Fire calls including “citizen assist” and “service calls” are examples of “Lower Priority” (C1) Fire calls.                
  • Higher Priority calls (C2) are “time sensitive,” meaning delayed response by FEMS emergency vehicles may impact call outcome. “Higher Priority” calls are considered “potentially life threatening.” EMS calls with patient complaint of “chest pain” or certain “traumatic injuries” are examples of “Higher Priority” (C2) EMS calls. Fire calls including “gas leak” and “vehicle fire” are examples of “Higher Priority” (C2) Fire calls.
  • Highest Priority calls (C3) are “very time sensitive,” meaning delayed response by FEMS emergency vehicles will negatively impact call outcome. “Highest Priority” calls are considered “immediately life threatening.” EMS calls for “cardiac arrest” or “gunshot wound” to the chest are examples of “Highest Priority” (C3) EMS calls. All “structure fire” calls with smoke or flame visible are examples of “Highest Priority” (C3) Fire calls.