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Reno’s dispatch now able to give callers emergency medical instructions

Two people sit in front of a circular desk with five computer monitors on them. One monitor displays a map and the others have Excel spreadsheets.
Courtesy of the City of Reno
City of Reno’s emergency dispatch center.

The City of Reno’s emergency dispatch is now able to provide medical instructions over the phone in some cases.

All 911 calls made within Reno go to the city’s dispatch center. In case of a medical emergency, those calls are routed to REMSA. In the past when backup was needed, those calls would’ve been transferred to Washoe County. Reno dispatchers have been training since February and can now take those calls.

Reno Fire Department Chief Dave Cochran says this decreases the number of transfers, which can lead to a loss of information.

“They’re trained to give CPR instructions over the phone. They might give them instructions on how to stop bleeding if that’s the problem, Cochran said. “There's an opportunity for the dispatchers to be able to give the caller potentially lifesaving instruction on how to start care before we even get there.”

The Reno Fire Department responded to about 50,000 calls for service last year, with nearly 63% of them for emergency medical needs.

Lucia Starbuck is an award-winning political journalist and the host of KUNR’s monthly show Purple Politics Nevada. She is passionate about reporting during election season, attending community events, and talking to people about the issues that matter most to them.
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