Calling 911 for a Medical Emergency

Emergency Medical Dispatch

Since 2012, the citizens and visitors of West Allis receive certified Emergency Medical Dispatchers at the Communications Center who handle all 911 and non-emergency requests for medical service.  Personnel in the Communications Center utilize the Medical Priority Dispatch System to dispatch the most appropriate resources in the safest and most efficient manner.  The Medical Priority Dispatch System (MPDS®) is the original and most advanced emergency call taking system in the world. It allows emergency communication centers to eliminate the impractical and dangerous practice of freelance call taking. The structured approach guides call takers to quickly gather the right information, dispatch the right help, and when necessary, provide lifesaving support.   The MPDS is in part based on published standards by the National Association of EMS Physicians (NAEMSP), the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Emergency Number Association (NENA), and more than 30 years of research, development, and field testing throughout the world. The protocol contains 39 Chief Complaint Protocols, Case Entry and Exit information, call termination scripts, and additional verbatim instruction protocols for AED support, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), childbirth assistance, tracheostomy airway and breathing, and the Heimlich maneuver. Special protocols for stroke identification, aspirin administration, pandemic flu triage, and chemical suicide have also been released.

Case Entry Questions

Personnel in the Communications Center handle medical-related calls by following national standards for emergency medical dispatching. As a result, callers can expect to be asked the following questions about medical-related matters: 

  • What's the address of the emergency?
  • What's the phone number you're calling from?
  • Okay, tell me exactly what happened.
  • How old is s/he (the patient)?
  • Is s/he (the patient) awake?
  • Is s/he (the patient) breathing?

Once the chief medical complaint is identified, there will be additional questions and/or instructions. Timely and accurate answers to all of these questions help dispatchers quickly determine the appropriate medical unit(s) to dispatch and the answers help prepare paramedics and firefighters to better assist the patient when they arrive on scene.