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Archer County 911 dispatchers to get expanded medical training

Published: Dec. 2, 2021 at 10:45 PM CST
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ARCHER COUNTY, Texas (KAUZ) - 911 dispatchers in Archer County will soon be even better equipped to help save lives.

On any given day, they receive anywhere from five to 15 crisis calls, but no matter the call volume, they want to be prepared for anything.

“We get ambulance AMR Transtar from Wichita Falls and then we also get Archer ambulance but if you’re waiting down in Windthorst for AMR to get there that’s a long wait it can take a little while,” Diana Patterson, a 911 dispatcher in Archer County.

When the phones ring in the Archer County dispatch office, it can be from someone having a heart attack, a stroke or a family member calling about an unresponsive loved one.

“Right now, we don’t have the medical training to be able to give advice over the phone, we can just do basic care. With this program, we will be able to actually get a little further medical advice, like elevate the patient’s feet and make sure they don’t eat or drink anything,” said Patterson.

Patterson, who has been working as a dispatcher for almost a year, took it upon herself to go through the Emergency Medical Dispatch Program. After doing so she teamed up with Archer County Sheriff Jack Curd to make it happen. He had also been looking into the program himself.

“When the opportunity presented itself, our commissioners were quick to jump on and say ‘yeah, whatever we can do to help the citizens’ so they were quick to approve it,” said Curd.

The six-week training program will be paid for though COVID-19 CARES funds, with an initial cost of $5,500 with a $140 yearly training fee.

“Not a lot of dispatch centers, at least rural dispatch centers, have emergency dispatch,” said Curd.

“I do a lot of things but being in dispatch, it’s more about helping people and anything that can help us help the community is the biggest part,” said Patterson.

Curd said they hope to start training their 12 dispatchers next week, and hope to have everyone taking calls and giving crisis advice by February.

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