Abstract 316: Emergency Medical Services Response Time to Cardiac Arrest May be Delayed When Using European Emergency Phone Number in the Czech Republic
Introduction: Survival of people in cardiac arrest depends on EMS response time. Laypeople may use both national (155) and European (112) phone numbers for requesting EMS in the Czech Republic. The 155 medical dispatchers deal with the request directly while 112 fire-brigade operators have to transfer the call to EMS. It was unclear, whether use of the different systems may cause any delay when calling for help. This study was aimed to compare times needed for contacting medical dispatch.
Methods: A prospective observational study was performed during a 1-month period in the Hradec Kralove region (0.55 mil.) as a part of the EUROCALL study conducted on behalf of ERC. The 180 test calls (6 per day) were simulating request for EMS and randomly distributed to follow diurnal distribution, day of the week, use of a landline or a mobile phone, and 155 or 112 numbers. Multiple successive time intervals were recorded with an online timer. Data analysis was performed using Prism 6.0 for Mac OS X (GraphPad, La Jolla, USA).
Results: There were no differences in response times until the first 155 or 112 operator answered the call (11.9 ± 0.4 vs. 11.5 ± 0.3 seconds, p = 0.42). However, the 155 operators were all qualified paramedics/nurses able to provide dispatcher-assisted CPR and (pre)alarm appropriate response teams immediately, while the 112 operators had to transfer the calls to EMS dispatch. The overall time interval “number dialed - call answered by medical dispatcher” was faster if a direct number (155) was used (11.9 ± 0.4 vs. 62.0 ± 1.8 seconds, p < 0.0001). Difference between means was 50.2 ± 1.9 seconds. The longest recorded connection times were 24.5, and 117.5 seconds respectively. There were no differences between landline and mobile phone calls. No call was aborted. A location of the caller service provided by 112 worked precisely especially if public phone-boxes were used. However, location misunderstandings appeared when connections of landline calls were technically performed via internet access.
Conclusion: When requesting EMS, laypeople should (be taught to) use national emergency phone number when response time is critical, e.g. cardiac arrest. The European number 112 causes delay but may be used as an alternative in specific situations (e.g. foreigners, no SIM card).
- © 2013 by American Heart Association, Inc.