The 5 Steps of Beacon SMS Dispatch
1. Confirm Response
First responders (FRs) receive a Request for Assistance from Beacon indicating the Incident ID (ID) and the Location of the incident. If an FR can respond, they should reply with the Incident ID and the number of minutes it will take them to arrive to the location (MINS). The values must be separated by a ” . ” (see example at left). You will have between 2-3 minutes from the moment you receive this text to confirm your participation, depending on how long Beacon has been set to accept confirmation replies from other FRs. Depending on the FR’s distance from the incident, they may be told to proceed to location, standby or that their participation isn’t needed.
2. Confirm Arrival On-Scene
FRs who receive permission to respond are asked to confirm their arrival on-scene by sending 1 in a text message to Beacon once they have located the patient(s). Sending 2 indicates to Beacon that the patient(s) cannot be located; Beacon will then request more information from the original caller and/or dispatcher. Sending 0 cancels the FR’s involvement in the response and makes them available to receive alerts for subsequent incidents.
3. Confirm Additional Resources
The first FR to arrive on-scene is the “Incident Commander” (IC) and has the option to request additional resources when needed. For example, one patient with a broken leg could be treated and managed by 3-4 FR, while a bus accident with multiple casualties would need more help. In order to assist the decision-making process, the IC is told at the beginning of the text how many other FRs are currently en route (2 FRs), how many transport vehicles they have (2), and their estimated time of arrival in minutes (ETA: 8 min). With this information, the IC can better decided the needed for additional resources. If no additional resources are needed, the FR replies with 0. If additional resources are needed, the FR indicates the number needed. In this example, the FR can only request additional vehicles, and would do so by sending the number of additional vehicles needed – e.g., 4 if four more vehicles were needed. (Do not send #4 as # will not be acknowledged by the system.)
4. Confirm Transport
When an FR is going to transport patients to the hospital, they can do so by indicating the destination facility they’ll be transporting to, the number of patients they’ll be transporting, and their estimated time of arrival in minutes (#ETA). In this case, there are two possible destinations, so the FR sends 1 for St. Stephen’s Hospital, 2 to indicate they are transporting two patients, and an ETA of 20 minutes. Always make sure that the values are separated by periods, as shown in the example at left. If no transport is needed, the FR sends 0. Note: Confirming transport will automatically send a notification text message to the receiving facility.
5. Confirm Hospital Arrival
FRs indicate their arrival at the destination facility by sending 1. If the FR needs assistance, they can send 2, which will automatically inform the destination facility, available FRs and other designated users that the FR is requesting contact. If there is a delay, the FR sends 3 followed by the expected delay time (in minutes). This text is forwarded to the destination facility. If a transport needs to be canceled, the FR sends 0. This text is also forwarded to the destination facility.
6. Monitoring and Evaluation
Once the FR has confirmed arrival at the hospital, Beacon will send them a summary of their response times. FRs will also be given the option to log out by sending 456 to Beacon. By logging out, FRs will no longer receive Incident Alerts. (To log in again, send 123 to Beacon.)