About The Academy

What are the Academies?

The National Academies of Emergency Dispatch® (NAED™) has its origins in the National Academy of Emergency Medical Dispatch® that was created in 1988 as a standard-setting organization for the field of emergency medical dispatch. Since its inception, NAED has occupied two roles: one as a membership-driven association for the professional recognition of dispatchers and, the other, as an Academy that develops and maintains dispatch protocols and curriculum for member use in response to emergency calls for help.

This emphasis on research, testing and quality assurance puts NAED in a category separate from many other EMS and public safety organizations. While NAED supports a large and varied membership, it also functions to provide state-of-the-art protocol that assists in the most appropriate allocation of communication center resources. In 2000 and 2001 Fire and Police Protocols were added to the Medical Protocols making them the industry leader and "gold standard" choice for multi-agency dispatching.

NAED is a strong and authoritative voice for emergency dispatch programs nationally and internationally and partners with other influential emergency response groups such as the National Emergency Number Association (NENA), the National Association of EMS Physicians (NAEMSP), the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), and the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada among others to help guide, improve, and professionalize emergency dispatch worldwide.

Origins of the NAED

The original EMD program Dr. Jeff Clawson created was a set of key questions, post-dispatch, and pre-arrival instructions for medical emergencies that dispatchers could provide over the telephone. High dispatcher compliance to a medically approved, standardized protocol was Dr. Clawson's concept for managing emergency service resources in critical patient care. As acceptance of a unified protocol grew, Dr. Clawson brought together several emergency service experts to establish the North American EMD Network, the precursor to NAEMD, later founded in December 1988 at the Academy's first EMD conference.

The system of dispatch instruction has since evolved into three separate protocols—the Medical Priority Dispatch System™ (MPDS®), the Fire Priority Dispatch System™ (FPDS®), and the Police Priority Dispatch System™ (PPDS®). The MPDS was established 30 years ago. The FPDS was introduced in 2000 at the annual Navigator conference, while the PPDS was released at the NAED conference held the following year.

The three sets of protocols—medical, fire, and police are based upon the same time proven methods developed over 30 years of research, testing, and quality assurance.

NAED stays committed to providing the highest degree of quality standardized emergency dispatch response-phone directed care that a participating communication center can provide to its community.

To learn more about the history of the NAED, check out our video documenting 30 Years of Protocol.

NAED Promise

NAED guarantees the highest caliber of protocol in the communications center. As Dr. Clawson has stated throughout his career, building emergency dispatch protocols is complicated science, and proper emergency dispatch response depends upon the logic systems, testing, and quality assurance of these protocols.

NAED Council of Standards spends literally hundreds of hours each year reviewing proposals for revision; this includes changing existing protocol and adding new protocol in response to evolving technology and proven best practices in patient care. The process is done in an organized academic format that relies on comments from the thousands of centers using the protocols and from experts specializing in emergency services at the academic level. The Standards Council must reach a consensus before any change is made to the approved protocol.

Protocol durability goes beyond research and practical application. NAED believes that dispatching is a function of Total Quality Management, and not a series of events that leads to an anticipated outcome. NAED encourages a systematic approach to practice management and quality assurance. A high level of case review (as recommended by the Academy) provides each dispatcher with feedback on their performance, and gives them the opportunity to capitalize on their strength and to use further training and continuing dispatch education where improvement may be necessary.

NAED Membership

Academy membership is comprised of over 54,000 certified members dedicated to the public safety profession. The phenomenal growth over the past 30 years can be attributed to a growing recognition of standardized protocol and the benefits of formal training and certification. A member trained in the proper use of protocol contributes significantly to the professionalism of dispatching and fosters confidence in the communication center environment. The numbers speak for the value members place on their credentials: the sustained recertification rate is more than 80 percent.

There are nearly 3,000 communication centers that take advantage of NAED's protocols, and more than 100 of these have achieved the status of an Accredited Center for Excellence (ACE).

Continuing education goes hand-in-hand with training and certification. It has been Dr. Clawson's philosophy to provide comprehensive dispatch training. The three certification programs (police, fire, and medical) provide intensive study and practice in a peer setting under the direction of instructors with broad backgrounds in the use of the individual protocols. Advanced courses are available to those involved with dispatch case review, continuing education, or running quality improvement units.