CAVA Dispatch Procedures and Communication
Bold: example radio calls. Italics: commentary.
Recommendations for CUPS
From the time of initial paging to our vehicle rolling, it can be as many as four minutes. It is OK to page us once you have established we are needed, then provide a little bit more information after more phone conversation. CAVA, you have a request for response to McBain for a finger injury. Stand by for further information. [two minutes pass] CAVA, patient has a significant laceration on a finger, bleeding is controlled, patient is conscious, etc...
It is useful to know what officers are on scene or are dispatched. CAVA, you have a request to respond to the outside of Avery for an ankle injury. Post 15 is on scene now and can provide further information. If the officers on scene can be the one to provide us with the extra information below, that is very useful.
Information which can be useful for us to get. These are guidelines / advice. Each dispatch is different and you all can figure out what from below is most useful for us based on its nature.:
Nature of illness/injury. "Aided" generally doesn't help us as much as a more detailed description. If it really is unclear, feel free to say "unknown cause".
Is the patient conscious/mentally capable? Patient is alert // confused // unable to make words // completely unresponsive
Did the patient fall/hit their head? This is useful for us since we know if we need to bring a backboard. This includes falling/neck/back injuries without physical injuries, and falling/neck/back injuries before you've seen the patient.
Is the patient ambulatory, do they have motor control? Patient is ambulatory/unable to walk/has no motor control. Of course, you generally shouldn't ask the patient to move until we get there, this is more for us to plan what equipment we need to bring.
- What officers are on scene (see above).
The source of information. A friend stating their friend is "unconscious" is often different from an officer stating someone is unconscious. The caller stating the patient didn't fall is less reliable than officer on scene reporting no head/neck/back injuries. If this is obvious from context, it doesn't need to be re-stated. Caller states pt did not fall. // Post 5 states s/he hasn't seen patient fall // Friend states patient is incoherent. // Sgt. on scene states pt states s/he has vomited five times in last 30 minutes.
The requester of the call. Friends calling about friends often are different from officers requesting someone be examined. I heard that you can also get calls from the on-call clinician, which the patient doesn't themselves request. Post 2 is requesting your response to EC lobby for a male apparently intoxicated.
If the officer on scene can be the one giving us information, that is preferable. They should ask the base to page CAVA, then when Medic 1 responds, they can directly state the dispatch: CAVA, this is Sgt. XXX in Lerner Hall auditorium. We have a male injured with a knee injury requesting your services. He is alert but non-ambulatory. Patient did not strike head , neck, or back on the ground.
- On Scene: Do not move the patient. Have them sit down, if possible, moving as little as possible. Let them know that once we get there, we'll ask some questions and that they should just go with our flow, and we'll handle everything.
- Crowd Control: We should be able to talk to the patient without bystanders getting in the way. However, if there are bystanders that have information that can be useful to us, we'd like to talk to them.
Recommendations for CAVA
CUPS always appreciates any information you can provide. Don't be shy about talking - you'll get better at being concise and clear. Let's try to get ride of the pattern where CAVA disappears from the radar until we call 98 a few hours later.
For areas with multiple entrances, state how you will enter. Base, be advised we are entering through Post 12.
When you get on scene, especially if there are people waiting for you. CAVA 84 Northwest Corner building. Do you call when you get to the patient or to the street? You can decide which is most useful, or do both. Including a location with your 84 call makes it un-ambiguous.
When you are transporting. Base, CAVA is transporting one CC student to St. Luke's, Sgt. Doe has the details. // Base, CAVA is transporting one faculty member to CU Health Services. It is best to say this right before you actually start rolling.
When you RMA. RMA of one G.S. student, Post 11 has the details. This could double as your back-in-service message for RMAs.
You can radio from the hospital to report an estimated wait time. CAVA 84 St. Luke's, estimated triage time is 10 minutes. If you do this, you may need to stand by the door to be heard. The usefulness of this depends on the time of day, but it never hurts.
Information which the base should get over the radio by the time you are done in other words, confirm this to the base to prevent miscommunication from officers on scene, or if they leave before things are fully decided. It's also extra-useful to state this when you have non-Columbia people and thus CUPS isn't on scene, but recommended to confirm it all the time.:
- Patient affiliation.
- Whether you are transporting or RMAing, and destination.
The information which Public Safety would like about their patients. It is usually a good idea to talk to officers on scene to avoid having to ask these questions twice.:
High priority: Name, UNI or DOB, phone number. Enough to look up and verify the person in the computer systems. Phone number since that is often different from what they have.
- Lower priority: Affiliation, dorm address.
You want to get the patient information to base as soon as possible. The best way to do this is make sure the officers on scene have it before you leave. If not, when transporting, you could ask if they need any additional: CAVA to base, we are transporting one to St. Luke's, we didn't get any information on scene, will you need a 10-5?
Try to minimize the amount of time before you call with patient information. If you think that some info is probably missing, you could 10-5 before the chart is done to make the base like you. There is really no one right way to do this, but getting information to them sooner is always better. Since we now call back in service after we finish the charts, there is a much, much longer delay than before.
Do not ignore radio transmissions. If the base is calling you, answer, don't wait for them to page you again. Let's act like professionals and not amateurs, if you are on a call someone is expected to monitor the radio. If you really don't have hands free to answer, that's fine, though.
For high-priority transmissions, "CAVA to base", "go CAVA", "<message>"
- Low-priority messages can just be sent, e.g. "CAVA is 84 East Campus B3". Low-priority is it is oK if the receiver does not get them.
- When someone calls you, you can
- When responding, try to state back the information you are acknowledging. This ensures that the transmission was received (see below for three-way communication) "CAVA is back in service, do you need a 10-5?", "negative", "10-4, negative 10-5".
Radios often have interference. It is best to use three-way communication: Party A states information, Party B repeats the information back, and Party A confirms that it was received correctly. Do you need a 10-5? // Negative // 10-4, negative 10-5. It becomes a personal challenge to repeat back the information as concisely as possible. Of course, the less important the transmission, the less important this is to do.
- CUPS has a computer system which tracks the location and disposition of all units. CAVA is included in here. If you communicate our status, they will keep track of us there.
- Some CUPS tours call the GA upon initial dispatch, some call only upon transport (this is more sensible than it seems since the main factor is what time of night it is).
- 8x4 and 4x12 try to refer people to non-EMS resources when possible. 12x8 doesn't have many other resources so they call us right away.
- 8x4 calls cava right away when someone asks for EMS regardless of the nature of complaint, 4x12 sometimes discusses more to see if they really need EMS. 12x8 will generally call us since they don't have other resources available.
- There is a pitfall in communication: you tell the officer on scene you are transporting, they leave, then patient changes their mind. The vice-versa could happen, too. Make sure that this is communicated back to base.
- When we get a Barnard HS dispatch, here is what happens: BHS calls BPS, BPS calls CUPS, CUPS dispatches us.
- When you are first paged, Medic 1 should wait a few seconds after changing to channel 1 before transmitting. This a) reduces the chances of interference from some other transmission b)
It is preferable, perhaps recommended even, to use plain english. Each of these codes has an equally concise plain english equivalent.
- 10-1 "report to base" (or location).
- 10-3 "repeat"
- 10-4 "acknowledged" (note the difference between "acknowledged" and "affirmative" and possibility for confusion)
- 10-5 "call" (as in phone call)
- 10-6 "location"
- 10-62 / 10-63: "break", "meal break"
- 10-74 "area check"
- 10-84 "on scene"
- 10-90 "unfounded" (used when people on scene could not find the job, in our case, usually no patient found or no assistance needed.)
- 10-98 "done with job" (more concisely "clear").