We have launched a redesign of www.powerphone.com offering all the information you need in an adaptive, easy-to-use format. The first thing you’ll notice is our scrolling navigation and responsive design. Whether you’re here to research our Total Response call handling solution, register for a course, download our latest course catalog, or to sign up for our Response Times newsletter, all of our website content can now be easily accessed on any device with any size screen. [Read more…] about Welcome to the New and Improved PowerPhone Website
In the spirit of Fire Prevention Week, we’ve put together a short list detailing some of the ways that PowerPhone’s Total Response solution helps emergency call handlers prepare for any fire-related emergency call.
Here are a few proactive ways to keep your emergency call center prepared for any fire emergency.
Tools for Live Call Taking
When it comes to fire-related emergencies, time matters. Our Total Response Computer-Aided Call Handling (CACH) software provides protocols to guide call handlers to ask the necessary questions in a timely, consistent manner to best address any incident.
Appropriate questions and dispatch recommendations can vary widely with different protocols based on the Chief Complaint such as ‘Outside Fire,’ ‘Structure Fire,’ ‘Gas Leak,’ or ‘Vehicle Fire.’
Protocols are valuable tools equipping your call handlers with the prompts and structure to quickly get the best results for every incident scenario. This information helps make appropriate dispatch determinations and fully prepares responders of scene conditions while en route.
Call Handling solutions like Total Response offer proven pre-arrival instructions to callers to best prepare the incident scene prior to responders’ arrival and help keep callers safe. Most people only think of pre-arrival instructions for medical situations, but there are many additional situations, including fire scenarios, where these are incredibly valuable.
With a focus on caller and responder safety, pre-arrival instructions can stop fire-related incidents before they escalate into more severe emergencies.
In addition to empowering callers with actions they can take in-the-moment, pre-arrival instructions help limit property damage, reduce agency liability and, sometimes, even save lives.
The best way to guarantee your call handlers are ready for any fire-related call is with our Fire Service Dispatch certification. Certification helps students understand PowerPhone’s proven call taking formula and protocols to quickly identify if help is needed, what skills are needed, and the priority of the call.
Students learn to apply incident management principles to identify and support the actions of fire rescue personnel, to understand the basics of fire behavior, and to provide callers with fire-related pre-arrival instructions.
Optional T-CPR Certification
We now offer T-CPR certification as an optional add-on to our Fire Service Dispatch certification. While T-CPR has long been a required part of our Emergency Medical Dispatch certification, the life-saving benefits are so extraordinary that we expanded access to all certifying students (regardless of discipline) at no additional cost. This certification meets the guidelines suggested by the American Heart Association that all Telecommunicators have T-CPR training.
Through certification training, use of live call taking tools and assessment of processes, your agency can be prepared for any emergency situation and ensure that you are delivering the highest standard of care to your community.
PowerPhone is here to help you.
It cannot be said enough:
Thank you to our customers, partners and friends who lead the 911 industry forward in new and exciting ways.
Your work is our passion and our inspiration. Thanks for everything you do.
Happy National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week!
From your friends at PowerPhone.
Following is a poem that gets passed around the 911 community around this time of year. One of our Account Managers, Ryane Quadrato, shared it with us last year. This year, we’d like to share it with all of you.
We were unable to trace where the poem originated from, but it is adapted from the Soldier’s Night Before Christmas written by Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Bruce Lovely on Christmas Eve in 1993 while stationed in Korea.
T’was the night before Christmas, as she sat all alone,
In a room made secure, full of consoles and phones.
I had come down the chimney with presents to give
And to see just which hero in this center did live.
I looked all around and what did I see?
No tinsel, no presents, just a very small tree.
No stockings by a fire, just switchboards & mics,
And a few small photos of her kids riding bikes.
Amongst medals, and badges, awards of all kinds
A sobering thought crept into my mind,
For this room was different, so busy and bright:
T’was the 911 office, and a dispatcher on “nights.”
I’d heard stories about them and wanted to know more,
So I walked down the hall, and pushed on the door.
And there she sat with keyboards and mouse,
Waiting to set tones on a well roasting house.
Her face O’ so gentle, her room was abuzz,
It occurred to me then that she needed a hug.
Was this the hero of whom I’d read?
Sitting at a console making her bread?
Though my stress was high, hers seemed to be zero
And I soon understood this was more than a hero
For I realized the families that I saw just that night
Owed their lives to this servant who was willing to fight
Soon ‘round the world, the children would play,
And grownups would celebrate a new Christmas day.
They all enjoyed freedom each day of the year,
Because of dispatchers like her standing so near
I couldn’t help wonder how many there were
On a cold Christmas Eve working hard like her.
Just the very thought brought a tear to my eye,
I eased up beside her my heart full of pride.
The dispatcher said, as she saw my tears falling,
“Santa don’t worry, this life is my calling;
I am the watcher: alone, steady voice,
Getting help to the helpless: my job and my choice.
With a wink and a smile she answered a call,
An elderly man who’d been hurt in a fall.
I watched her intently, so alert, and so quick,
And I saw a slight shiver as she made a mouse click.
So I took off my jacket, thick, fluffy and red,
And I covered her shoulders, her neck, and her head.
I put on her sweater, which was smaller and tight,
The two of us there must’ve been quite a sight!
Though her sweater hardly fit me, my heart swelled with pride,
And for a fleeting moment I felt a kinship inside.
I didn’t want to leave her on that cold dark night,
This guardian of honor so ready to fight.
But she kissed my cheek, and in a voice so pure,
Said, “Carry on Santa. Christmas Day is secure.”
One look at my watch, and I knew she was right.
Merry Christmas my friend, as you watch through the night.
Our Total Response brochure is now available in a digital format.
Are you advocating for your agency to transition to Total Response? This is a terrific resource to pass along to help educate stakeholders about our proven approach to emergency call handling.
This brochure is also a great resource for existing Total Response users looking to inform their community about the resources helping to improve their 911 call handling operations.
Come see how Total Response helps PSAPs define, achieve and measure a higher standard in 911 call handling.
In recognition of National Stroke Awareness Month, we’re sharing our protocol for handling 911 calls. Time is of the essence with strokes and a 911 Call Handler’s response can make a dramatic difference to the patient’s recovery.
The following protocol is part of our Total Response Call Handling System. 911 Call Handlers use this protocol to guide their questioning after identifying a stroke or stroke-like symptoms as the chief complaint. Click here for more general information on our call-taking formula. What follows is a walkthrough for the call handling process specific to a typical stroke call:
Identification of a chief complaint takes place in the Initial Survey, where Call Handlers pinpoint the location and categorize the type of emergency.
At this point, Call Handlers focus on the 5 W’s+H+W+H+I, which include the words pictured to the right, where applicable. In this instance, we would primarily be interested in where (location of patient) and what (stroke) in order to navigate to the appropriate protocol to begin asking the Primary Questions.
Upon selecting the appropriate protocol, 911 Call Handlers move to the primary questions, which in the event above, identify the patient’s vital signs and put a big emphasis on the amount of time since symptoms started.
Why? Because stroke patients have a limited three-hour window for minimizing physical damage to the brain. This is why the next step, Dispatch Recommendation, immediately follows – to get EMS en route to the caller immediately.
While EMS responders are en route, our Stroke protocol guides the 911 Call Handler to keep gathering information with Secondary Questions that help responders prepare. In this instance, Call Handlers gather information about prior strokes (a good indication that the symptoms are indeed another stroke) and the patient’s medical history. It is very common for patients suffering a stroke to have other underlying conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure.
Finally, with EMS dispatched and fully informed, the 911 Call Handler is guided to provide extremely helpful Pre-Arrival Instructions. Most callers in this situation are understandably panicked; these instructions help create the best atmosphere for the patient until help arrives. In this instance, the call handler educates the caller about various conditions people suffering from a stroke may be in (appearing unresponsive, but able to hear and understand others), and provides critical information to mitigate the potential for additional harm. Here, the call handler instructs the patient not to have anything to eat or drink.
Here, the call handler instructs the patient not to have anything to eat or drink. This is important because choking is a common problem during and after a stroke if the patient’s brain no longer activates the reflexes associated with swallowing.
When all of the information is gathered and pre-arrival instructions have been provided, or when EMS arrives on the scene, Call Handlers will then perform the Call Closure process and move on to the next emergency.
Total Response Emergency Call Handling System
The Total Response system provides a higher standard in emergency call handling by quickly identifying a problem, rapidly dispatching the appropriate responders and empowering 911 call handlers to gather and provide information to improve each call’s outcome. We’re happy to share our Stroke protocol in the interests of raising awareness and equipping everyone to get the best help available in the fastest way possible.
Want to Learn More About Total Response?
PowerPhone will stop issuing updates to all of our paper tablets on March 31, 2017. We were the first to offer the industry Digital Tablets containing integrated call handling protocols and the response has been overwhelmingly positive as customers have streamlined their call handling processes and incorporated the protocols to their desktop monitors or onto a free-standing Windows-based digital tablet.
Digital tablets have provided many outstanding benefits including faster look-up times, making more desk space available and simplifying the process for updating current protocols. For a full discussion on why we stopped offering paper tablets and moved to digital tablets, click here.
Simply put, digital tablets are better.
At PowerPhone, we have a strong history of over thirty years of innovation to 911 call-handling protocols with both the first printed set of integrated police, fire and emergency medical services protocols, and now, the first integrated computer-based protocol delivery system.
As new innovations emerge, older products become outdated and require more and more updates. This is where digital tablets have a significant advantage over paper-based tablets – the updating process for digital tablets is uploading a file; the updating process for paper-based tablets includes printing out new cards, mailing the corresponding number of cards to each customer, requiring the customer to manually take apart their card system, add the updated protocol, remove the old protocol, and reassemble the product.
Affected Product Lines
- Four-Tab Paper Tablet Protocols. Updates to our four-tab paper tablet will continue through March 31, 2017. We stopped selling the product over a year ago, but have continued providing updates and support since then.
- Two-Tab Integrated Paper Tablet Sets. We are no longer offering update support for the two-tab integrated tablet sets and strongly encourage PSAPs to upgrade to a more modern 911 call handling system.
If your agency is currently using our paper based tablets and is interested in changing, contact us to ask about ways to upgrade.
PowerPhone had a strong presence throughout the United States this year, attending well over a dozen state and national conventions in addition to our normal schedule of trainings and implementation sessions at PSAPs all over the country.
This year, we’ve met with thousands of professionals on the front lines of emergency call handling and worked side-by-side with large and small agencies in every region of the country. Last week, a core group of staff got together to talk about some of the emerging trends in 911 call handling, and how we could best provide solutions to our customers’ problems.
We wanted to share a few of the trends we’ve identified in the emergency call handling industry with our friends and customers, and to talk about how PowerPhone is positioning each of our customers for success.
Following are some of the top trends we’ve noticed:
Viewing Call Handling Protocols as Mission-Critical
One of the most exciting developments this year is the sharp rise in the number of PSAPs that view call handling protocols as a mission-critical component of emergency response. The difference between a full call handling solution like Total Response and a static pre-arrival checklist has never been more apparent than in 2015. As any of our customers will tell you, callers are quick to recognize the difference between a responsive Call Handler and one stuck on auto-response.
Agency consolidation has continued to be a hot issue in so many parts of the country. We’re seeing different strains of consolidation throughout the country, with true consolidation (merging departments and agencies) taking root in the Midwest, and co-location consolidation (putting everyone in the same room) continuing to be big in the Northeast.
PowerPhone’s customers who face consolidation are already prepared for success because of our holistic approach to emergency call handling. We’ve been leading the way in subject-matter and operational consolidation since creating the industry’s first integrated call handling protocols several decades ago.
Dispatchers Receiving More Recognition
The fight for greater recognition of 911 Dispatchers and Call Handlers picked up some ground in 2015. We’ve seen incredible results in places like Texas, where the mandatory licensing and training provisions passed a few years back are finally starting to set in, and we’ve seen encouraging results in places like Idaho, where the Sheriff’s Association recently signed on to a coalition arguing for better Dispatcher treatment.
Many agencies that received accreditation in Total Response this year have seen significant increases in their standing and value in the communities. One agency in particular even cites accreditation as the tipping point for getting 911 Call Handlers a long-deserved raise from the city council.
Heavy Emphasis on Continuing Education
Training has always been vital to 911 Call Handling, but in 2015, we saw more and more agencies embracing continuing education for all Call Handlers, even in areas where it isn’t mandated. This is a positive development, as continuing education is vital for improving overall Call Handling, but also because it provides Call Handlers with the opportunity to grow their skill sets and to keep on top of new situations and technology as they emerge.
Our Continuing Education subscription course continues to help agencies deal with their ongoing training needs. We’re constantly adding and updating courses to continue addressing the most pressing issues including:
- Active Shooting Response: What Your Center Needs to Know
- Alzheimer’s Patients: The Endangered Missing Person
- Mass Casualty Incidents
- The Role of the 911 Supervisor
- Chemical Suicide, and more!
State Funding and Politics
There is nothing new about PSAPs being at the mercy of State politics and funding, and for many parts of the country, that was still the reality in 2015. Some States, like Tennessee, are benefiting from a reallocation of funds that are resulting in beautiful new operating facilities, while some others, like Illinois, are still caught in the perils of budget freezes and financial difficulties.
Overall, conditions seem to be largely improving since the Great Recession. As always, we provide high-quality products and services at different price points so that we can work with any agency to at least get the basic framework of Total Response up and running to offer their community a higher standard in 911 call handling.
NG 911 continues to dominate the discussion everywhere we go. Considerable attention is being paid to text-to-911 offerings, and streamlining technology.
No matter where the NG 911 solutions move, PowerPhone customers are well-positioned for success. Our CACH system has an open API, allowing for an entirely flexible approach moving forward.
Universally, the passion and dedication of public safety employees is as strong as ever. We continue to be inspired by the eagerness and enthusiasm of 911 Call Handlers, supervisors and department heads across the country. Our purpose is to create the strongest tools and resources to allow you all to effectively and efficiently provide the best 911 Call Handling possible to your communities.
Thank you all for helping us have a purposeful 2015, we look forward to continuing to work with you and to continue leading the emergency call handling industry forward with innovative tools and approaches in 2016.
What industry trends are you planning to watch in 2016?