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Digital Recording, Retrieval Save Valuable Time for Portland 911 Provider

American Medical Response, Portland, Ore.
Dictaphone Freedom Case File

Challenge: Make the organization for efficient in recording, retrieving and sharing the 3,000 to 5,000 calls and radio transmissions moving in and out of the dispatch center every week.

Strategy: Purchase Dictaphone''s Freedom recording solution for liability recording, dispute resolution and quality assurance.

Results: Better call-handling and dispatch performance, increased productivity in retrieving and using recordings.

Seconds count in dispatching ambulance units to an accident, fire or crime scene; and they can often count just as much when it comes to recording emergency calls and retrieving the recordings later. Consider the case of a leading 911 provider in the Pacific Northwest.

American Medical Response (AMR) is the nation''s largest private provider of emergency and non-emergency medical transportation. Operating in 35 states, AMR employs more than 20,875 people in 265 sites. The company transports some four million people annually in a fleet of more than 4,000 vehicles.

In the Northwest, AMR''s Portland region is the local 911 provider for four counties in the greater Portland area. In three of the four counties, AMR''s central office, or one of its four satellite offices, acts as ambulance dispatcher. (In one, Multnomah County, dispatching is handled by the local PSAPs, and an AMR representative sits in the dispatch center to move a new unit into place for the next call.) In effect, 911 calls come through an interface directly from the PSAP. At the same time as the PSAP dispatches, say, fire units, AMR is dispatching appropriate ambulance support.

The company recently purchased a Freedom® recording system, a powerful network appliance, from Dictaphone, a Lernout & Hauspie company, as a means of recording, retrieving and sharing the 3,000 to 5,000 telephone and radio communications moving in and out of the Portland center weekly.

Recording those calls, including those from as many as 500 dispatch, mobile and handheld radios, is done over 24 recording channels. "For us, retrieving and sharing these recordings is at the heart of our business," said Mike Fletcher, communications supervisor in the Portland region. "There are sometimes questions about whether an ambulance unit arrived at a scene within the required 7 minutes, 59 seconds, or a citizen might complain about the way he was treated during a phone call. Retrieving and reviewing these recordings is something we''re doing all the time. The Freedom system lets us find them using any of nearly limitless identification criteria in just a few minutes."

"We can store huge volumes of recording--about 90 days'' worth--on our 72-gigabyte hard drive," Fletcher said. "Since the storage is online, the various managers and directors can access recordings, listen to a relevant call, save it as a .wav file and send it as an e-mail attachment to whatever office needs it. It''s a huge time-saver."

The system makes Fletcher''s life easier when he needs to reconstruct an incident in chronological order. "The incident might consist of dispatch calls, radio transmissions, citizen phone calls, inter-departmental communication-all the things that are involved in an emergency," said Fletcher. "With the Freedom system, I can retrieve all those disparate components and create a single, ordered recording that presents all the facts in their correct order."

Regional centers in Seattle and Spokane hope to have Freedom systems soon as well. "What we''re working toward is a system that will give the three offices a single, organized archive of recordings," Fletcher said. "That way, supervisors throughout the Northwest will all have instant access to any recording in the system. It promises to save us time and money and make us even more responsive to the needs of our PSAPs."

For more information, contact Communications Recording Solutions: crs@dictaphone.com or call 800.886.4908.


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