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Rapid Dispatch Protocol Reduces 911 Call Processing Times by 50 Percent

Publish Date: 09/17/2013

New System Designed Without Cost to Taxpayers


Annapolis, Md. (September 16, 2013) – Anne Arundel County residents who previously called 911 for medical emergencies could always depend on a prompt response, but that response time has now been reduced by 50 percent. Fire Chief Michael Cox today announced the implementation of what the Fire Department has termed a Rapid Dispatch Protocol (RDP) system. RDP decreases the call-taking and processing time by dispatchers in the Fire Communication Center by allowing them to perform multiple functions.


“We have always done a good job responding to emergency calls,” said Fire Chief Cox, but when it comes to life-saving efforts, we want to make sure our residents receive the fastest and most efficient assistance that we can provide. The new RDP system is beneficial to our first responders, emergency room staff, but more importantly, to the patient, and it was done without cost to taxpayers.”


Under the previous Emergency Medical Dispatch system, a call taker was required to ask a series of questions until it could be determined which type of medical resources were required before dispatching the call. Under the new RDP system, which builds on the older system (by changing a computer code), call takers will now confirm the address, phone number, nature of the call and immediately dispatch the closest responding units.  During this same time, dispatchers will remain on the line with the caller to obtain additional information and provide pre-arrival instructions.  If it is determined additional resources or specialized equipment is needed, those resources will be immediately sent to the scene. This change, as well as the streamlining of the Station-alerting process and geographical response changes, has reduced the call-processing time by more than 50 percent.  


“I applaud Chief Cox and Fire Department employees who formed a workgroup to study our

30-year-old dispatch system and recommended this change,” said County Executive Laura Neuman. “Our Fire Department employees were empowered to identify solutions that would better serve our community. Their commitment to this project and ingenuity is another step toward positive change within the Fire Department. This RDP is not a permanent fix, but it is a solid interim, no-cost solution. A group is being formed to study the feasibility of purchasing a new dispatch system. When a decision is made, it will be done in a way that protects the public’s safety while being mindful of Anne Arundel County taxpayers’ hard-earned dollars.”

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