Chief Thomas Pasquarello announced that starting today, persons calling 911 to report a sick or injured person, will receive additional telephone support while medical help is on the way. The program, called Emergency Medical Dispatch, is a State 911 mandated program that requires all 911 centers to provide medical and pre-arrival instructions to callers who are with sick or injured persons while help is being dispatched. The service is being provided by Cataldo Ambulance Service, the emergency medical service provider for Somerville.
When callers dial 911 to report a sick or injured person, and if the caller is with the patient, the 911 call taker will first determine the address where the emergency is located. The caller will then be transferred to a specially trained Emergency Medical Dispatcher at Cataldo Ambulance for medical support or instructions while police and fire units are on the way. The goal of this program is to improve the level of treatment of patients before the first responders arrive.
Somerville Police officials emphasized that callers dialing 911 from a mobile phone will, under current protocols, continue to be routed to a State Police call center in Framingham that will then transfer the call to Somerville 911. It is therefore faster to call 911 from a non-wireless phone if one is available. Most land based phones will connect directly to Somerville 911.
Somerville Police and Fire Departments will continue to respond to emergency medical calls with Cataldo Ambulance Service as always. This new program is designed to inform the caller of what steps can be taken until help arrives.