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OnStar advisor named 2014 Dispatcher of the Year

Bryan Anta from OnStar’s Oshawa Call Center receives honour from IAED


April 30, 2014
by CAR Staff

ORLANDO, Florida“Honk once for ‘yes’ and twice for ‘no.’” Those were Bryan Anta’s quick-thinking instructions to a woman who couldn’t speak because she was having a serious asthma attack on the side of the road.

Crucial emergency instructions like this are why Anta has been named 2014 Dispatcher of the Year by the International Academy of Emergency Dispatch (IAED). The Dispatcher of the Year is awarded annually to a dispatcher whose personal actions made the most significant contribution to further the values and mission of the IAED.

“It is a great accomplishment for Bryan to win this award, considering the other 9-1-1 and emergency medical dispatchers nominated experience and expertise in dealing with a wide range of emergencies on a daily basis,” said Terry Inch, chief operating officer, OnStar. “This is a testament to the rigorous emergency training our advisors go through and their ability to provide medical instructions before first responders arrive.”

Anta received the award today during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Navigator Conference.

“I still can’t believe it, I’m very honored,” said Anta. “I’ve always had a passion for helping people and I’ve always wanted to do that with my life. Working at OnStar gives me the opportunity to do that at the highest level.”

OnStar emergency advisors are trained to use the Medical Priority Dispatch System, a medically approved standardized protocol that determines the urgency of a medical emergency and guides advisors to provide medical instructions in many incidents before first responders arrive. However, when the driver is unable to communicate and there are no other adults on the scene, assessing the situation can be difficult. That’s where Bryan’s suggestion to use the car horn proved so valuable.

NaToshya Reed experienced chest pains and decided to drive herself to the hospital. She was en route with her three-year-old daughter when a serious asthma attack rendered her unable to speak, let alone drive. Once she pulled over, she used her cell phone to call her mother, who is familiar with Reed’s Asthma. She also pressed the OnStar button for emergency assistance. Shortly after connecting to OnStar, one Advisor contacted first responders to send help to the vehicle, while Anta stayed on the line to provide emergency medical instructions to Reed.

Via cell phone, Reed’s mother attempted to communicate the situation to Anta, but with a crying child in the vehicle, it was very difficult for Anta to understand the situation.

“At first, it was very difficult to determine what was happening. I heard a faint voice in the background, a baby crying and someone gasping,” said Anta. “I tried to picture the driver in my mind and determine the best way to assess the situation.”

That’s when Anta began asking Reed questions, instructing her to honk the horn once for yes and twice for no. Once Anta had an understanding of the situation, he was able to instruct her on breathing techniques and keep her calm until first responders arrived.

“I am so thankful, grateful, and blessed for Bryan Anta and his ability to think under pressure,” said Reed. “If it were not for him I would not have been able to receive the much-needed medical help that I did.”

In addition to Reed’s call, Anta has assisted with a number of other notable emergency calls during the past year. In one call, Anta relayed pre-arrival care and CPR instructions to a woman whose husband suffered a severe heart attack in the vehicle. The husband has since recovered.

“Bryan is one of those rare EMDs who goes beyond knowing the protocol in and out, and is able to understand the big picture and the reasons for what we do,” said Dr. Paul Stiegler, OnStar medical director. “He is incredibly focused on the scene and is able to comprehend what’s going on in a caring way.  He represents the best of what EMD is about.”

Anta was also instrumental in last year’s VITA Award-winning call, where OnStar subscriber Carole Cooper used her vehicle as a communications post during violent thunderstorms at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Cooper was named a 2013 Wireless Samaritan at the annual VITA  Achievement Awards Dinner sponsored by The Wireless Foundation.  Anta was one of the emergency Advisors she worked with to treat injuries and send help to the scene.