City of Davis considers allowing dispatchers to give medical advice to callers

City of Davis may make big changes among dispatchers

DAVIS — A big change could be coming to 911 calls in Davis.

For the first time, dispatchers on those calls could be allowed to give medical advice to callers in distress.

It may seem like common sense, you call 911 for a medical emergency and the dispatcher helps you before paramedics arrive. That's not how it works in Davis, at least not yet.

Under current Davis protocols, 911 dispatchers' roles are limited only to dispatching paramedics to the scene.

Huma Kausar is an emergency room doctor at Methodist Hospital in Sacramento. 

"Simple procedures can save lives," Dr. Kausar said. 

CBS13's Steve Large read the current Davis 911 dispatch rules to Dr. Kausar.

"This is what it says the Davis standard protocals call for right now: 'Dispatchers are not permitted to provide any medical instructions to the caller, no matter how basic or obvious.' That is what is in place right now."

Dr. Kauser calls it "very tragic." It is not uncommon across California, although the city of Davis is the only part of Yolo County that currently does not have dispatchers give pre-arrival instructions to callers.

Davis Police Chief Darren Pytel is calling for the change as part of a bid by a new ambulance company. 

The Sacramento Regional Fire and EMS Dispatch Center serves ten fire agencies with dispatchers trained to offer life-saving medical advice. The center reported taking 230,000 calls in 2020.

"It has a huge value because they know the standard care, they follow standard care," Dr. Kauser said. 

The City of Davis is expecting more training for dispatchers will cost more money, and the extra duties for dispatchers could lead to longer response times. 

They are still working on how much more compensation dispatchers could get.

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