What are the challenges that CKFR is consistently faced with when responding to age care facilities?
Should there be a catastrophic event at one of these facilities, evacuating residents presents its own challenges. We have facilities in our protection area where there are 60+ apartments housing residents with various functional needs that would need assistance in rapidly exiting their buildings. This is manpower intensive and can present a major operational issue.
Responding to a call relevant to single individual at one of these facilities is a different issue but also its own challenge. A resident may call 911 looking for EMS to address a critical health issue, and in some instances the facility staff would be unaware that a call was placed. Therefore, when we arrive, staff is unprepared to ensure quick transport of the resident to the ambulance.
How did First Due offer a solution to positively impact the response workflow at an age care facility?
First Due is an awesome tool that allows our personnel to create differentiated pre-plans for care facilities. We can have different layers that show our crews a plan for a fire, plans for EMS extraction at various points around the facility, and every other scenario we train for.
What truly sets First Due apart is enabling staff at the facility to play a role in the pre-planning and notification process. Through Community Connect, the building leadership and on-site security are notified when a resident calls 911 for an emergency. As we're en-route, security has already received a text message that Central Kitsap is responding and then proceeds to prepare for our arrival by clearing space for the ambulance outside, locking down an elevator for our crew, and more. In the middle of the night this is huge. Community Connect has reduced our response times dramatically and helped keep our elderly safe. It's great. Doors are unlocked, elevators are on the ground floor, and security has the situation under control and can escort us directly to the person in trouble.
Do you have any specific examples?
The day after we set up one of our facilities for Community Connect, we were dispatched there to help a senior in respiratory distress. Prior to the dispatch, I notified the crews that this new notification system had been set up with security at this 24-hour care facility. When our crew was dispatched, the security guards knew we were on our way and were prepared to provide immediate access and helped facilitate the response. We were able to get our senior in distress out of his room and loaded onto an ambulance with record levels of assistance from facility staff.
How do you plan on expanding your success with Community Connect to get more facilities like this one signed up?
We have First Due deployed to all six of the fire departments here in Kitsap County. For the folks that don't know, that's just across the sound from Seattle, Washington. Community Connect has been running countywide for over a year, and we have seen thousands of our residents sign up and a growing number of local businesses like the age care facility we spoke about today. CKFR coordinates with Operations and the Community Connect leads at each of our partner agencies to ensure we have a coordinated plan for awareness and registrations the same way we all came together to focus on Community Connect at our residential occupancies.
Working directly with the leadership and staff at our businesses adds a whole new level of service that will positively assist our Community Risk Reduction strategy.
How do you plan to make your community aware of the program?
First Due provides us with a custom-branded kit to get the right information in front of the residents and businesses we provide service to. Because all of our partners at our neighboring agencies use the same kit, we have standardized messaging, standardized branding, and a standardized marketing plan. We use these resources to develop presentations for local businesses, chambers of commerce, rotary clubs, our schools, and our local malls, and we just grow from there. We also keep informative flyers in our units to distribute should there be an opportunity during response.