Call takers and dispatchers for all levels of the 9-1-1 Service in Ontario play an integral part in the services delivered to Ontarians and the teamwork required for functionality within and across jurisdictional boundaries.
As part of the team, the information gathered by our communicators will assist in keeping fire fighters and first responders and the public safer.
As a response to past medical outbreaks like H1N1 and SARS most call-taker protocol includes questions to the caller regarding communicable disease symptoms such as cough, fever, etc. for calls that are of a medical nature.
The OPFFA makes the recommendation that a screening process be implemented for all emergency and non-emergency calls when it is possible to do so.
Screening enables responding crews to prepare accordingly, reducing the risk to our staff and re-assuring the public that we are addressing all prevention and protection protocols of the COVID 19 virus. It protects the public, it protects us.
Gathering this information is highly possible for most non-emergency situations (such as Assist calls, CO Calls etc) however may not be appropriate in emergency call situations. As of a week ago, the sample questions listed were based on the MOH Emergency Health Services template and will be similar to those asked in the Ambulance CACCs.
- Have you or anyone in the premises received a public health or medical advice to self isolate?
- Are you or anyone in the premises presenting with fever, cough or difficulty breathing?
- Have you or anyone in the premises travelled outside Canada in the last 14 days?
- Have you or anyone in the premises had any close contact with a person who has a confirmed or probable case of COVID 19?
- Have you or anyone in the premises had any close contact with anyone with an acute respiratory illness that has travelled outside Canada in the last 14 days?
Screening results can be recorded to the incident and reported to responding crews in either of the following three ways
- COVID screening positive
- COVID screening negative
- COVID screening questions not asked
Our communications centres are complex and need to be protected from COVID hazards from within. ALL of the self screening and disinfecting/decontamination protocols listed in the OPFFA website should be implemented to protect this branch of our service as well.
Disinfect your workplace before duty, during and at the end of your shift.