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911 Dispatchers Receive National Accreditation

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FAYETTEVILLE — Cumberland County's emergency medical dispatchers are being recognized as some of the best in the country. The group is the first in North Carolina to receive national accreditation. Operator:911 emergency.Caller:I think he just had a seizure.Operator:Is he awake right now?Caller:Not really. He's not really responding too much.Operator:Is he breathing?Caller:Yes, he's breathing.Operator:Now tell me exactly what happened.Caller:Well, he's not getting up. He's foaming at the mouth.

Cumberland county dispatchers answer almost 400 emergency calls a day. To receive national accreditation, six months worth of calls were monitored. Of those calls, 99% were answered exactly the way they were supposed to following national academy standards.

"(We're) very proud, and we strive to even knock out the one point that wasn't handled," says dispatcher Sue Ellen West. "Yeah, it makes us very proud."

The national academy standards means workers not only dispatch ambulances. They also begin providing medical help even before the medics get there.

"Someone calls, and 'my grandfather has chest pains,'" West explains. "That's your priority complaint or your chief complaint, and you go straight to that card and ask those questions."

Information dispatcher Mark Brown provided recently helped saved a Hope Mills woman's life.

"The caller was very excited," Brown recalls, "And I was able to calm them down within the first few seconds, get the information I needed to get and initiate CPR while the dispatchers were sending them."

Workers here say the accreditation shows county leaders and residents that the people on the receiving end of medical emergency calls are some of the best in the business.

Only 17 other emergency medical dispatch teams in the country have been nationally accredited.