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3 Questions Give Emergency Crews A Head Start In Anne Arundel Co.

MILLERSVILLE, Md. (WJZ)—Every day 911 dispatchers send rescuers into life or death situations.  Those who go to the scene will tell you the sooner they arrive, the better it is for the patient.

Mike Schuh reports on a change in Anne Arundel County that is getting paramedics and fire on the scene faster.

The sooner help arrives, the better.

"As we know, every second counts," said Lt. Jack Beall, Anne Arundel County Fire Department spokesperson.

If you call into the 911 center in Millersville, the operators have to learn about your problem so that the dispatcher can get the right people and equipment headed your way.

The protocol here dictates that the 911 call taker has to ask a lot of questions, but what they realized is that they don't have to ask all of the questions before they get the fire truck or ambulance rolling. They really only needed to ask three.

Question one: What is the exact location of your emergency?

Question two: What is the emergency there?

Question three: What is the phone number you're calling from?

For now, that's all they need. An electronic message is sent to the nearby dispatcher.

When the truck is on its way, the operator can then get more details.

"Gather the appropriate information, the pertinent information, the bare minimum but get the help on the street," said Lt. Mike Dooley, 911 supervisor.

Early dispatch is the idea of the new Anne Arundel County Fire Department Chief Michael Cox.

"We learn for history, and we learn from our mistakes," Cox said.

He gave his department a goal to dispatch faster. They came up with the solution.

The other benefit?

"There was no cost involved," Cox said.

The fire department says the cost to make the changes has been minimal, just a few hours retraining the 911 staff.

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