2019 AIMHI Excellence in Public Information or Education
Pinellas County 9-1-1
Prevent the Fall, Prevent the Call is the title of Pinellas County’s fall prevention program that was implemented beginning in August 2017.
Falls compose the second largest number of medical calls to 9-1-1 and Pinellas County’s EMS system. 86 of the highest 100 users of Pinellas County’s systems are nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and rehabilitation centers.
In two pilot programs with assisted living facilities, Pinallas County 9-1-1 reduced overall calls for service by 12%–14% in both facilities. The County reduced falls by 8% and 12% by working with the Facility Directors as well as nursing and care staff along with the residents. The program included a play called "Denying Gravity" and specific training programs for all staff members. The County now have expanded this to Largo Fire, St Petersburg Fire, and Pinellas Park Fire, and are working to add more fire departments to the program. Pinellas has found that the program has reduced 9-1-1 calls and helps to manage the county’s EMS growth through education and understanding, as many facilities had no idea the impact their organization had on Pinellas County’s EMS system. Pinellas County also trained the facilities on how to properly call 9-1-1 for an emergency, which proved to be a very effective way to share what is needed from a caller and they understand why telecommunicators ask many questions.
About the Pinellas County Regional 9-1-1 Center
Pinellas County Regional 9-1-1 Center receives and dispatches calls for all Fire Departments in Pinellas County as well as answering calls for non-emergency calls for the Sheriff's office. The County received 753,000 calls to 9-1-1 and dispatched 202,000 calls for service. The County provide public education to thousands of citizens throughout the year from young children to Pinellas County’s senior population. They offer cellphone training on how to access 9-1-1 through the Pinellas County’s cellphone simulator.
The County has a public educator in-house who coordinated the entire program at no extra cost. The Fire Departments provided staff for the trainings and the volunteer group SAGES provided the play, which kept expenditures to a minimum. Pinellas County 9-1-1 utilized current staff to produce and promote this program.
The County reached 556 residents in one facility and reduced calls by 14%. In the other facility, the County reached 400 residents and reduced calls by 12%. Overall, the program reached thousands through the play, training, outreach during open houses at Fire Departments, and now increased facility participation. Pinellas is working with 24 facilities at present and looks forward to adding more to the list. The County provide stats by Pinellas County’s, day, day of week and call type to each facility in the program with so they understand the impact their improvements is having. Pinellas is excited to reduce falls as well as calls for service to 9-1-1 and EMS.
Pinellas is looking to reduce calls from each facility by 10% and falls within that facility by 10%. The County feel with the pilot program success and each fire department now working to manage EMS growth through education and information, Pinellas County 9-1-1 will help County residents reduce falls and injuries. The County has seen the program drive results, and now is working to facilitate the growth of the program.
The Denying Gravity play, created for seniors by seniors, is being offered a number of times this year, with the goal of getting Pinellas County’s residents to take falls seriously. Each ambulance the County puts on the street costs $1.2 million, so reducing falls by 10% overall could result in savings to Pinellas County’s taxpayers as well as free up Fire and EMS resources to be available for other emergencies. This would be a potentially lifesaving outcome that would result in a faster response to true emergencies.