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PLANO (CBSDFW.COM) – Emergency officials in Plano are starting to rethink the way they operate their 911 services.
Currently, 911 dispatchers in Plano handle some 500 calls per day, but more and more of them are turning out to be non-emergencies.
Plano Fire Chief Hugo Esparza believes the answer could be a special team of paramedics who make house calls to 911 callers with minor medical issues — rather than taking those patients to the emergency room.
“It’s almost a throwback to the days of old, where the doctor would come out to you, rather than you going to the hospital,” explained Esparza.
According to Esparza, elderly citizens are making the majority of minor 911 calls.
“Because of their age or their condition, or what have you, they’re calling us and a lot of times because they’re not properly using their medication, or don’t know how to use it, or haven’t filled their prescription… whatever the issue is,” he said.
With the population shifting in America, Esparza said he doesn’t see the problem with 911 calls getting better.
“The Baby Boomers are now reaching senior age, so there’s gonna be more of a demand on EMS,” he said.
The City of Plano is hoping to get a million dollar federal grant to try out the program, that isn’t unique.
“There are other communities that are doing it, throughout the United States,” said Esparza. “We’re kinda looking at those models and trying to customize our program for our community.”
And tailoring the program for Plano means very specific things to the chief. “For a program like this, I want my best, experienced paramedics doing this.”