The crew at Stevens County Ambulance Service (l to r): Mac Johnson, Byron Seggerman, Nathan Roy, Jessica Velde, and Operations Director Josh Fischer. (Photo: Marshall Hoffman)

The number of people calling 911 is down statewide, as people are fearful of a risk of viral exposure. But Stevens County Ambulance Service Director Josh Fischer told the KMRS Community Connection that ambulance services have taken a number of new measures to ensure patient safety and people should not be scared to call for an ambulance when one is medically needed. Part of those measures, he explained, include more information that will be needed by the 911 dispatcher.

“When you call 911, the dispatcher is going to ask you some additional questions,” said Fischer. “They’re going to ask you if you’ve got a fever, if you’ve got shortness of breath. They might ask you if you’ve traveled or otherwise been exposed to someone that is a known COVID-19 case. So that screening process when you call still might be a little different, so that they can pass that information along to the responding units.”

The information may be used to limit the number of people who come in direct contact with a patient, or to link up with a Telehealth option to consult with a medical provider via a video conference. Fischer reiterated that delaying a 911 call in the midst of a medical emergency can be fatal.

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