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PROPOSED RULEMAKING

PENNSYLVANIA EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY

[4 PA. CODE CH. 120d]

9-1-1 Performance Review and Quality Assurance Standards

[29 Pa.B. 1717]

   The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA), under the authority contained in 35 Pa.C.S. §§ 7013 and 7313 (relating to power to adopt regulations; and powers and duties) proposes to adopt Chapter 120d, to read as set forth in Annex A.

   These proposed regulations are intended to promote the public's health, safety and welfare by establishing standards for performance review and quality assurance programs for the operation of county 9-1-1 emergency communications systems located throughout this Commonwealth. The standards contained in these proposed regulations are designed to promote Statewide adherence to established 9-1-1 center goals and procedures, to facilitate the learning process for 9-1-1 center personnel and to provide a framework for the continuous improvement of the overall operation of 9-1-1 emergency communications centers in this Commonwealth.

Need for the Proposed Regulations

   These proposed regulations are needed to implement section 3(a)(8) of the act of February 12, 1998 (P. L. 64, No. 17) (Act 17) which made several statutory changes to the Public Safety Emergency Telephone Act (35 P. S. §§ 7011--7021). In particular, section 3(a)(8) of Act 17 required PEMA to establish standards for the conduct of performance review and quality assurance programs on the operation of county 9-1-1 emergency communications systems located throughout this Commonwealth. The purpose for establishing these performance review standards is to ensure that all county 9-1-1 centers consistently provide the best possible emergency communications service to the citizens of this Commonwealth.

Affected Persons

   All citizens of this Commonwealth will benefit from the establishment of this performance review and quality assurance program because these standards will ensure that all 9-1-1 emergency communications center personnel will provide more effective, timely and professional emergency communications and dispatch services to the general public during life/threatening, public safety and other types of emergency situations.

Sunset Requirement

   PEMA has not set a sunset date for these proposed regulations because all county 9-1-1 emergency communications systems operate on a continuing basis. PEMA continues to monitor those systems and will propose improvements such as these proposed regulations when required.

Paperwork Requirements

   These proposed regulations will not change the amount of paperwork that State agencies and counties must prepare as part of the administration of their 9-1-1 emergency communications systems.

Regulatory Review

   Under section 5(a) of the Regulatory Review Act (71 P. S. § 745.5(a)), on March 19, 1999, a copy of these proposed regulations was submitted to the Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC), the Senate State Government Committee and the House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee. In addition to the proposed regulations, IRRC and the Committees were provided with a copy of a detailed regulatory analysis form prepared by PEMA in compliance with Executive Order 1996-1, ''Regulatory Review and Promulgation.'' A copy of the form is available to the public from PEMA upon request. PEMA will consider comments or suggestions received from IRRC or the Committees, together with comments or suggestions received from the public, prior to adopting the proposed regulations.

   If IRRC has objections to any portion of the proposed regulations, it will notify the Department within 10 days of the close of the Committees' review period. The notification shall specify the regulatory review criteria that have not been met by that portion of the proposed regulations. The Regulatory Review Act specifies detailed procedures for review, prior to final publication of the regulations, by the Department, the General Assembly and the Governor of objections raised.

Contact Person

   Interested persons are invited to submit written comments, suggestions or objections regarding these proposed regulations to Mark Goodwin, Chief Counsel, Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, P. O. Box 3321, Harrisburg, PA 17105, within 30 days of publication of these proposed regulations in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.

CHARLES F. WYNNE,   
Director

   Fiscal Note:  30-53. No fiscal impact; (8) recommends adoption.

Annex A

TITLE 4.  ADMINISTRATION

PART V.  EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY

CHAPTER 120d.  911 PERFORMANCE REVIEW AND QUALITY ASSURANCE STANDARDS

Sec.

120d.101.Purpose.
120d.102.Definitions.
120d.103.Scope.
120d.104.Standards and procedures for performance review.
120d.105.Types of quality assurance reviews.

§ 120d.101.  Purpose.

   (a)  The purpose of this chapter is to implement section 3(a)(8) of the act which was added by section 3(a)(8) of the act of February 12, 1998 (P. L. 64, No. 17) to establish standards for performance review and quality assurance programs for 911 emergency communication's systems operating in this Commonwealth. The standards contained in this chapter are designed to:

   (1)  Promote Statewide adherence to established 911 center goals and procedures.

   (2)  Facilitate the learning process for 911 center personnel.

   (3)  Provide a framework for the continuous improvement of the overall operation of 911 centers in this Commonwealth.

   (b)  These procedures will provide the operational standards that are needed to ensure that 911 centers consistently provide the best possible emergency communications service to the citizens of this Commonwealth.

§ 120d.102.  Definitions.

   The following words and terms, when used in this chapter, have the following meanings, unless the content clearly indicates otherwise:

   Act--The Public Safety Emergency Telephone Act (35 P. S. §§ 7011--7021).

   Agency--The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency.

   Call-taking--The act of answering 9-1-1 calls and obtaining the information necessary to effect a dispatch.

   Catastrophic loss--Exceptional loss of human life or significant dollar amount of property damage, or both.

   Communications center--A 9-1-1 Public Safety Answering Point or PSAP; also referred to as a dispatch center in this chapter.

   Day--Refers to an actual 24-hour day, not a ''working day.''

   Dispatching--The act of alerting and directing the response of public safety units to the desired location.

   Emergency dispatched calls--Emergency incidents to which a communications center dispatches public safety agencies.

   Emergency medical dispatch protocols--A system or program that enables patients to be assessed and treated via telephone by utilizing current accepted emergency medical dispatch standards.

   Performance appraisal--A yearly written evaluation of an employe's job performance measured against established expectations and standards.

   Quality assurance review--An audit that is used to assess the job performance of a telecommunicator or telecommunication's process.

   Radio activity--The act of dispatching and communicating on a public safety radio frequency.

   Standard operating procedures--A set of policies and procedures developed and adopted by a 9-1-1 center to aid in directing the daily operations of the telecommunications staff.

   Telecommunicator--A full-time or part-time public safety call-taker or dispatcher.

§ 120d.103.  Scope.

   The quality assurance reviews in this chapter will be employed in accordance with the time frames contained in § 120d.104 (relating to standards and procedures for performance review). These reviews will be used to evaluate the performance of various aspects of a telecommunicator's duties. In addition to measuring individual performance, these reviews will aid in determining whether the processes used by the telecommunicators are functionally efficient on a regular basis.

§ 120d.104.  Standards and procedures for performance review.

   (a)  A random sampling of 9-1-1 communications center calls will be reviewed on a recurring basis by the quality assurance reviewer to ensure compliance with the standards in this chapter, as well as those outlined in the standard operating procedures of each 9-1-1 communications center. If needed, additional reviews will be performed to ensure that each telecommunicator receives a minimum of one call-taking audit per month. All calls, whether voice or TDD/TTY, will be reviewed in the same manner. The quality assurance reviewer will complete an audit form for each review. It is also recommended that all incidents involving catastrophic loss be included in the review process.

   (b)  A minimum of ten call-taking audits will be performed each week in 9-1-1 communications centers that dispatch, on average, 72 or less emergency dispatch calls per day. Those 9-1-1 centers that average more than 72 emergency dispatch calls per day shall audit 2% of the 9-1-1 calls that they process. Although it is recommended that audits be performed on a weekly basis, the quality assurance review process may assume a monthly configuration to accommodate 9-1-1 centers that have personnel or scheduling constraints. The minimum number of audits required shall remain unchanged.

   (c)  Twice a year, the quality assurance reviewer will review a segment of each telecommunicator's radio activity to determine adherence to the dispatch standards. At a minimum, each segment of the telecommunicator's radio activity that is monitored shall contain three emergency dispatched calls. The quality assurance reviewer will complete an audit form for each segment reviewed.

   (d)  The quality assurance reviewer will be designated by the director of each 9-1-1 communications center. It is recommended that the reviewer be at a supervisory level with a minimum of 3 years experience in the field of emergency telecommunications. Internal standards should be established to ensure that the review process is executed with consistency and objectivity.

   (e)  To provide optimum feedback, the date selected for review will not exceed 5 days prior to the audit. Telecommunications should receive the results of the review process within 5 days of the audit. Copies of each audit will be retained on file at the 9-1-1 communications center for 3 years.

   (f)  The audit reviews will be used to support the development and assessment of goals and expectations on the telecommunicators' yearly performance appraisal. The audit reviews will also be used to identify areas of the telecommunicator's job performance which may require additional or supplemental training, and aid in determining whether any processes of the 9-1-1 communications center require modification or change.

   (g)  Telecommunicators, whether they are part-time or full-time employes of the 9-1-1 communications center, shall be subject to this quality assurance review process.

   (h)  Quality assurance actions that are initiated in response to the results of an audit review will be documented and included as part of the audit.

§ 120d.105.  Types of quality assurance reviews.

   (a)  Call-taking (telephone performance).  The following telecommunicator performance standards will be checked by the quality assurance reviewer during each 9-1-1 telephone audit:

   (1)  Answers the telephone quickly and correctly (within 10 seconds of the call, 90% of the time).

   (2)  Asks and verifies the location of the incident or emergency.

   (3)  Obtains the callback phone number from the person making the call.

   (4)  Determines the nature of the incident or emergency and selects and assigns the appropriate response to the incident.

   (5)  Accomplishes the tasks listed in paragraphs (1)--(4) quickly and effectively (within 60 seconds of the receipt of the phone call, 90% of the time).

   (6)  Obtains all pertinent information and makes updates accordingly and keeps the caller on the line until the required information is obtained.

   (7)  Controls the conversation with the caller, explains the possible emergency actions and employs calming techniques when required.

   (8)  Exhibits a professional demeanor at all times and acts in a courteous and tactful manner.

   (9)  Demonstrates proper documentation of the information received on call-taker screens or cards.

   (b)  Dispatching (radio performance).  The following telecommunicator radio performance standards will be checked during each audit review:

   (1)  Dispatches the appropriate police, fire or emergency medical services (EMS) units within the prescribed time frame (usually within 90 seconds of obtaining pertinent information, 90% of the time).

   (2)  Provides the pertinent information to the responding police, fire or EMS units and relays updated information about the incident or emergency to the responding units.

   (3)  Answers all radio transmissions promptly.

   (4)  Speaks clearly and concisely to the responding units.

   (5)  Listens attentively and understands each message that is received from the responding units.

   (6)  Exhibits a timely response to requests from field units.

   (7)  Maintains a professional demeanor at all times.

   (8)  Abides by applicable Federal Communications Commission rules and regulations.

   (c)  Emergency medical dispatch. Emergency medical dispatch protocols will be utilized by 9-1-1 emergency communications centers. Due to the existence of various emergency medical dispatch programs, each 9-1-1 emergency communications center shall use the quality assurance process associated with the program that it is licensed to use. The Department of Health shall approve the emergency medical dispatch program as a requisite to its use by the 9-1-1 emergency communications center.

[Pa.B. Doc. No. 99-536. Filed for public inspection April 2, 1999, 9:00 a.m.]



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