There are a few major components that can significantly delay emergency response times, including miscommunications and uncertain traffic & road conditions. Thankfully, GPS live tracking is helping to improve emergency response times.
Miscommunications and Mistakes
Emergency medical service (EMS) providers are usually familiar with the term “golden hour,” which is defined as that hour, after an injury, where definitive care can either significantly increase mortality or morbidity. Not all trauma victims have an hour, however. Some have a golden five minutes or just one golden minute.
Any delay drastically reduces their ability to survive. Too often, human error has been cited for 911 dispatch mistakes. Slip-ups are sometimes caused by the failure of a dispatcher to promptly respond to emergency situations. Callers may not have accurate geographical knowledge of their location. Dispatchers may not have followed the required procedures to dispatch the correct department.
Call-takers have been known to hang up too soon on people, failing to send out for help. Emergency services have been sent to the wrong address.
GPS tracking devices may not be a solution for every dispatcher error, but it simplifies the process through automatic address generation. Even cell phones are increasingly providing more detailed, accurate location information.
Get the Right Information, Quickly
GPS tracking solutions reduce the numbers of miscommunications between the caller and the dispatcher so that dispatchers can better focus on correctly responding to the call. When 911 callers use a landline, the name, number, and physical address are automatically displayed on a computer. When dispatchers receive a 911 call from a cell phone, they are notified of the GPS coordinates of the phone, giving them an estimated location of the caller. Dispatchers always ask for an address, even when one has been provided them by GPS. The reduced time of locating callers allows dispatchers to quickly determine the nature of the call, and automatically relay it to the next stage dispatch, whether it be police, ambulance, or fire truck.
Emergency Service Response Rates
Emergency service response rates are anticipated to be reduced further as The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has established laws that require wireless service providers to transmit all 911 calls to Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPS) equipped with GPS, even when the caller does not subscribe to a service. The FCC is also requiring wireless carriers to provide more specific location data using accurate GPS coordinates. This helps to further reduce the time spent by dispatchers in verifying a correct address.
Emergency Service Response Delays
Emergency service response delays are reduced using GPS tracking capabilities that can instantly locate and dispatch the closest emergency vehicle to the emergency scene. The use of this type of dispatch system, that uses satellite tracking to identify the most appropriate and proximate resource, has decreased emergency response times across the board.
Traffic and Road ConditionsTraffic and hazardous road conditions can lead to substantial emergency response delays. Heavy congestion, lane closures, heavy use of emergency lanes, impassable roads, and adverse weather all contribute to delays that could result in someone’s death.
There are numerous benefits that a GPS tracking system delivers to emergency responders to help them avoid some of the difficulties navigating traffic and adverse road conditions when time is such a critical factor. Two of the most valuable GPS live tracking features are:
Identifying Fastest Route
GPS identifies the fastest route to a destination, and most have options that will provide live traffic updates. Traffic updates not only detail the fastest routes available, they indicate, for example, where accidents have occurred, and where slowdowns are happening.
Routes will be determined that help drivers avoid congestion, detours, or construction areas that will delay their arrival at an emergency scene. The information for a GPS navigation aid is provided from a variety of sources that give a real-time simulation of the current traffic flow. Rerouting possibilities are continuously available as the GPS live tracking system continues to receive and analyze traffic updates providing optimal routes to the destination site.
Locating and Dispatching Resources in the Field
During emergency services, materials and supplies may be quickly needed in different locations. GPS live tracking can pinpoint the location of a variety of assets, and determine the fastest route possible for those resources to be delivered.
It is always tragic when the delay of an emergency service responder is a factor in someone’s death. It is more tragic when that delay was preventable. GPS solutions help save lives.