Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Plain Speech

“Medic 3 to Dispatch”…
“Medic 3 to Dispatch”…
I look at my partner… “why aren't they answering.”

My partner says: “why are you calling them Dispatch? Try calling County”.Terminology… the downside to my nomadic life.

Post 9/11, everyone in public safety went to “plain speak”… we no longer use obscure 10-codes, and instead use regular speech. Sounds like a great idea. Except there are still plenty of regional differences.

What do you call your communication center? Depending on where I am, they are County, Communications, or dispatch.

What’s a “Medic Unit”? – In most systems I work, it’s an ALS ambulance. In one, it’s specifically a dual-medic unit, and in another, it’s a single medic in a chase car.

What happens when you get cancelled from a call? Depending on where I am, I’m either cancelled or recalled. One place, I document that I was “placed in service.”

As part of my company’s response to Hurricane Katrina, I had the opportunity to work with providers from across the country. We noticed that for describing a single unit, we had 8 different words, Unit, Squad, Truck, Ambulance, Medic, Bus, Rig, and Car.

Working with 4 different dispatch centers can be entertaining. I often find myself hesitating before speaking on the radio, making sure I’m using the correct version of plain speak for that service.

Plain speech isn't a one-size-fits-all solution. In any area, plain speech can be its own code.

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