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Fire District Dispatchers Earn National Recognition

The fire agency received a national accreditation for using a 911 dispatch system that tells people how to respond to an emergency while they wait for paramedics.

The local fire dispatch center earned national recognition for its practice of instructing callers about what to do before emergency responders arrive.

The 's 911 communication center was named an Emergency Medical Dispatch Center of Excellence. In 1996, it was the eighth center in the world to earn the accolade, according to district spokeswoman Kim French.

Since then, the fire district has earned the accreditation every year.

“The residents of the San Ramon Valley are well served by the dedicated staff of the ... communication center,” Kim Rigden, a reviewer for the National Academies of Emergency Dispatch, said in a statement. “It was without hesitation that I recommended them for re-accreditation.”

To maintain that status, the fire district uses the Medical Priority Dispatch System – which French says saves countless lives with its scripted phone instructions on how to perform CPR and what to do in cases of emergency childbirth, choking and bleeding.

The district made the system part of its standard operating procedures in 1993, French said.

“From talking a wife through how to give chest compressions to her husband who is experiencing a heart attack to walking a mother through how to isolate the spine of her child after a fall, our dispatchers have provided lifesaving instruction to many residents over the years,” said Denise Pangelinan, the district’s communication center manager. “Our medical dispatching can mean the difference between life and death.”

To earn the accreditation, the district conducts a detailed self-study and submits an analysis.

The communications center staff is composed of a manager, six dispatchers and three supervisors.

San Ramon Valley's fire district serves 170,000 people in Danville, San Ramon, Blackhawk, Alamo and some rural stretches of the Morgan Territory and the Tassajara Valley.

For more information, visit www.firedepartment.org or www.emergencydispatch.org

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