How CAD Software Can Make the Difference Between Life and Death

2020-04-14 06:35:00

I awoke, bewildered and confused.  I heard screaming at my downstairs door, a woman was screaming in a pitch that I had never heard in my life.  “Help me,” the voice screeched, “my baby.”

Coming to my senses, I made it to my front door to find my young neighbor who had just moved in days ago, pleading for my assistance.  Presented in front of me was a 23-year-old mother, holding the lifeless body of her 6-month-old baby girl who I had held just 3 days before.

Being an 82-year-old guy just holding on to the last few breaths of life, I found that this kind of situation fell right into my “wheelhouse.”  Although I had never been presented with this exact situation, I had survived 2 tours in Vietnam on a PT boat, raised 4 kids, beat lung cancer and weathered the loss of my wife 1 year prior; I was able to focus enough to call 911.

Once connected to the 911 dispatcher, she asked me many straight forward questions.  She confirmed my address, she confirmed my situation and then…it was time to act.  The dispatcher began asking me questions and giving me direction on what to do for the baby.  It was obvious that the child’s mother was in no position to assist her daughter, so I reluctantly stepped in.  I took the child in my arms, placed her on the floor of my home and began to assess her as the dispatcher instructed me.  I can’t recall everything that happened from that point on until the police and fire department arrived, but I can say that the little girl Emily survived and is doing well.

What is Computer-Aided Dispatch (CAD) and Why May Your Life Depend on It?

If you are an Architect or Engineer, you would automatically refer to CAD as Computer-Aided Drafting. That is correct, but it also describes Computer-Aided Dispatch (CAD) which is what we are going to be talking about in this article.

What is Computer-Aided Dispatching?  In a short answer, Computer-Aided Dispatching(CAD) is a software system that assists 911 dispatchers to help save lives.  It is not natural for anyone to be able to give second by second advice on life-saving measures to someone in distress. You can ask any dispatcher, law enforcement officer, or EMS provider which calls are the most difficult to dispatch and respond to, and I can guarantee the majority will say incidents involving children.  In this situation, using the fully integrated police dispatching software, the dispatcher was able to ask important questions and direct the caller to effectively handle the emergency until resources arrived, while quickly dispatching the proper agencies. This resource greatly improves the speed and efficiency of call handling and dispatching. 

The Precursor to the CAD System and Police Dispatch Software


As the 911 system developed over the years, efforts were made to assist dispatchers with certain procedures to manage emergencies until “hands-on” assistance arrived at the scene.  In the mid-1970s, the development of the “Enhanced 911 System” aided emergency personnel in locating scenes as the caller’s address was identified.  As technology has advanced, dispatch software now includes the ability to locate dropped cell phone calls, and even shows the GPS coordinates of a call.

In years past, emergency dispatchers relied on the “index card” or “cookbook” type response protocols.  If a caller had a certain type of complaint, injury or illness, the dispatcher would be directed by certain protocols or written directions to proceed. The Police CAD system allows dispatchers to reduce response times by utilizing a streamlined and more efficient system. The CAD system allows dispatchers to send messages to officers and EMS personnel’s mobile data terminals (MDT’s) when they do not want to broadcast over the radio. Dispatchers can easily view the status of all units that are dispatched to an incident. Computer-Aided Dispatching comes with dispatching software that provides tools and displays so dispatchers can handle calls quickly and professionally.

Dispatching for Law Enforcement and Fire/EMS are two different animals and it takes a very savvy dispatcher to be able to do both.  Fortunately, with the advent of Computer-Aided Dispatching, the lives of dispatchers have become less stressful and the service that they provide has become much more effective. Saving lives is what it’s all about.