The cutting edge of Cypress Creek EMS response
August 12, 2010
April 2009, Cypress Creek EMS opened the doors to their new Communication Center. With a year behind them, CCEMS officials have said the results have been promising.
“The Cypress Creek EMS service area is about 250 square miles with about 400,000 people in territory. The service area of our Communication Center including all the servicers we also take in is about 400 miles with about 1,000,000 people,” IT Manager Toivo Sari said.
CCEMS officials said they are proud to see that as their population has increased, their response times have not. They have kept steady with the eight minute national average, officials said.
Sari explained that tech developments in computers, GPS tools, and EMS software have really helped their individual and team efficiency.
“Every tool we need, we have. There’s no aspect of the job that’s not covered. And the computer programs help eliminate a lot of the potential for human error.” Dispatch Supervisor T.J. Darst said.
Sari added, even with the latest leaps in technology, their people are trained for worst case scenarios.
“One thing that makes us unique is our people. We train everyone to a high standard. Technology is great, but it can fail. So we regularly train in equipment failure simulations. We learn to work effectively even if our tech resources are unavailable,” Sari said.
Sari also noted the Communication Center was constructed to withstand a Category 4 hurricane. If a hurricane crisis hit the area, he said, it will be essential that our facilities are operational.
Tammy Parker, the Communication Center manager, said the standard of care each caller receives is one of the most significant and continuing advances. She said their system allows a call to be subdivided between call taker and dispatcher - one stays on the phone with the caller and the other focuses on dispatching units to the scene.
“With the national academy protocol that we use, the intervention we do over the phone before the ambulance even gets there makes a big difference.
“Instructions are written so that a fifth grader can understand them. We can take a young caller and help them understand how to do CPR or clear an airway. We’ve even helped them deliver babies,” Parker said.
CCEMS officials said the future looks bright for EMS response. Developing partnerships and technologies between Harris County traffic light systems and their own EMS software is going to pave the way to speedier response times.
These systems will be able to measure the direction and speed of an emergency vehicle and communicate this info to traffic lights preemptively, Sari said. The lights will stay green or red as necessary to clear congested traffic as an emergency vehicle approaches, he added.
Troiva, Darst, and Parker all said, ultimately, saving lives is their number one priority. This, they agreed, was their most pressing mission, both in the past and present, and moving into the future as well.