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

Davis — Davis’ 911 calls could see a big shift.

For the first time, dispatchers of such calls may be allowed to give medical advice to callers in need.

It may seem like common sense, but if you have a medical emergency, call 911 and a dispatcher will help you before paramedics arrive. Not so with Davis, at least for now.

Under current Davis protocol, the 911 dispatcher’s role is limited to dispatching paramedics to the scene.

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

“Simple procedures can save lives,” Dr. Cowser said.

CBS13’s Steve Large read the current Davis 911 dispatch rules to Dr. Cowther.

“Davis’ Standard Code now requires: ‘Dispatchers are not permitted to provide medical instructions to callers, no matter how basic or overt.’ It’s the situation now.”

Dr. Kauser calls this “very tragic.” While this is not uncommon throughout California, Davis is currently the only area in Yolo County where dispatchers do not give callers pre-arrival instructions.

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

The Sacramento Regional Fire and Emergency Dispatch Center serves 10 fire departments with dispatchers trained to provide life-saving medical advice. The center reported receiving 230,000 calls in 2020.

“They know the standard of care and they follow the standard of care, so it’s very valuable,” Dr. Kauser said.

The City of Davis anticipates that it will cost more to train dispatchers, and additional dispatcher duties may result in longer response times.

They are still working on how much more dispatchers can get paid.

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