Glossary of Terms and Abbreviations


ACLS - Advanced Cardiac Life Support. Developed by the American Heart Association, ACLS is a knowledge base and group of skills aimed at treating patients with acute cardiac (heart) problems. ACLS Protocols are considered the standard of care for cardiac patients both in and out of hospital. Doctors, nurses, paramedics, physician's assistants and nurse practitioners in the emergency and acute care settings are typically certified in ACLS.

AED - Automated External Defibrillator. An electronic device about the size of a laptop computer which, through pads placed on a patient's chest, determines if an unconscious patient is in a lethal cardiac rhythm (ventricular tachycardia/ventricular fibrillation). If the patient is found the be in a lethal rhythm, the AED administers shocks to the heart which can reverse this often deadly condition. Most AEDs are simple to use, with voice prompting and precise written and verbal instructions. (Some will even tell you when and how to perform CPR.) AEDs are becoming more common place in New York State. Recent legislation calls for AEDs in all schools in New York State with more than 1000 students. Some organizations seek to make AEDs as common as fire extinguishers. All Westchester EMS ambulance and emergency units carry at least one defibrillator on board. In the future, we seek to equip all of our ambulettes with AEDs as well.

Mutual Aid System - A system in which emergency agencies support each other with resources to prevent a call from going unanswered or being delayed, and to assist in the handling of incidents that may overwhelm local rescources. Example #1: An ambulance angency with two ambulances, has a third call in the district. Instead of waiting until an ambulance from that agency becomes available, a neighboring ambulance agency will be called in to cover the call. Example #2: A local fire department has a major structure fire. Neighboring agencies can be called in to assist with additional manpower and equipment to help bring the fire under control quicker, thus further preventing loss of life and property.

PSAP - Public Service Answering Point. An access point for the 911 system where calls are received for aid in an emergency. The Somers Fire PSAP consists of two 911 answering stations.