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St. Charles County’s 911 dispatch receives prestigious accreditation

St. Charles County Department of Emergency Communications

The St. Charles County Department of Emergency Communications has been recognized as the world’s 252nd Medical Accredited Center of Excellence [ACE] by the International Academies of Emergency Dispatch® [IAED].

St. Charles County Department of Emergency Communications is the county’s 911 dispatch center and one of 21,209 dispatch centers worldwide.

“This is an impressive accomplishment for St. Charles County,” said Jeff Smith, director of emergency communications. “To be part of this small group of centers – just 252 ever to receive this designation worldwide – is a great honor.”

To receive accreditation, centers must meet the Twenty Points of Accreditation as prescribed by the IAED. Those 20 points include, among others, personnel training and certification, documented policies and procedures, quality assurance and improvement programs, robust dispatch review and oversight by steering committees, as well as having a medical director in place for the program.

St. Charles County began the accreditation process in 2015. After nearly three years of preparation, including learning protocols, training and gathering data, as well as achieving and maintaining highly accurate protocol use, an application packet for accreditation was submitted this past December. The IAED conducted a thorough review of the required documentation, including listening to actual calls, and made a site visit earlier this month to assess the dispatch center’s processes.

“There’s a tremendous amount of work that goes into achieving ACE status,” explained IAED President Jerry Overton. “We’re certainly proud of St. Charles County’s accomplishment.”

While the accreditation for EMS is a big step, and one not many have undertaken, it is just the first step for St. Charles County and its emergency communications department. Smith said the goal is to achieve a Tri-ACE by becoming accredited in fire and law enforcement dispatch as well. There currently are only 180 active accredited centers in the world for emergency medical dispatch, 32 for fire and 13 for law enforcement. Only 15 centers in the world have ever met criteria for Tri-ACE accreditation.

St. Charles County’s Department of Emergency Communications handled 29,198 fire and EMS calls to 911 in 2017.

The IAED is a nonprofit standard-setting organization promoting safe and effective emergency dispatch services worldwide.

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