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PAXTON — The Ford County Sheriff’s Office announced the implementation of the Medical Priority Dispatch System (MPDS) to better serve the residents of Ford County in emergency situations.

With the new system, emergency dispatchers will follow nationally recognized standards and research-based protocols to identify life-threatening situations and to safely prioritize calls for fast response. The protocols guide emergency dispatchers through a series of questions they ask callers in order to identify the issue so they can send the correct help to the victim.

Emergency dispatchers will also use the questions to provide responders with accurate information so they can more effectively give care once they are on the scene. Additionally, with the MPDS, emergency dispatchers can provide lifesaving and safety instructions to callers and victims before responders arrive. For example, by using the MPDS, the emergency dispatcher can instruct a caller on performing CPR or delivering a baby.

“I am very pleased with this investment,” Sheriff Mark Doran said in a news release. “We will be much better prepared to answer 911 calls and dispatch the critical information first responders need for the   emergencies that happen in Ford County and surrounding areas.”

The MPDS involves a three-day certification training course for emergency dispatchers and continual quality-improvement benchmarks and training. All emergency dispatchers who work on the new system are certified by the International Academies of Emergency Dispatch (IAED) and must recertify every two years, completing 24 hours of continuing dispatch education and passing all requirements for IAED recertification.

The Ford County Sheriff’s Office employs 12 telecommunicators who are IAED/EMD certified. Its dispatchers average 300  calls a month, which Doran said “amazes me due to our smaller sized county.”