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Illuminations CDE Programs

EMD Illuminations

The EMD Illuminations Program provides at-your-desk continuing education for telecommunicators and other public safety communications professionals. The program is offered as an annual subscription-based service.

Each month, EMD Illuminations instructors present timely, relevant topics that can be accessed online, anytime during the month, from any computer with Internet access. Although topics offered are medical in nature, participants do not need to be certified as emergency medical dispatchers to enroll in EMD Illuminations. APCO also offers General Illuminations and CTO Illuminations, each of which features a different set of dispatch education topics.

Each month-long course allows participants to earn one CDE, for a total of 12 CDEs per subscription year. Participants must submit copies of Illuminations certificates to the Institute of completion to receive CDEs.

EMD Illuminations Topics for 2021

TTY, TDD, RTT, Text-To-911
What is it all, and why is it important to the EMD? In the modern world of texting, many EMDs are uncertain why they must maintain TTY/TDDs. This session will also discuss RTT (real-time texting).
Why Won't They Follow My Directions?
Giving instructions to a caller is easy when reading from a script, but in certain situations it can be challenging to get the caller to comply. This session will look at ways to ensure the caller is following your instructions, including de-escalation with calming techniques, reducing hysteria, and inquiring about and obtaining scene/event status updates or changes.
Also known as high blood pressure, hypertension is a condition in which the force of the blood against artery walls is too high, thereby increasing the risk for heart disease and stroke, both of which are leading causes of death. This session will take a more in-depth look into hypertension and its impact on the EMD's call processing.
When receiving a call for a patient that has fainted, experienced syncope, passed out, or “fell out,” the cause can be a wide variety of medical situations. This session will investigate some of the more common syncope causes as: vasovagal syncope, blood pressure, blood sugar, and anemia.
Lift Assists
Due to the growing aging community, social isolation, and increased healthcare costs, there is an increasing number of patients who should be in assisted-living facilities but instead are at home with caretakers who do not have the knowledge, equipment, or strength to care for them. If the caller states, “it's not an emergency,” it may be a caretaker who needs assistance with someone who has fallen but who has no injuries. This session will discuss some of these situations.
Dear Stress: Let's Break Up
With increasing call volume, continually evolving procedures and protocols, and new challenges to overcome, the EMD may feel overwhelmed, anxious, or emotionally exhausted. These emotions are all symptoms of compassion fatigue or long-term burnout. This session will include a deep dive into “breaking up” with stress and saying hello to long-term professional success.

EMD Illuminations Topics for 2022

Specialty Treatment Centers in Disaster Situations
When a disaster situation occurs is not the time when you want to learn about specialty treatment centers in your response area.  An example would be a facility for opioid treatment, where patients need lifesaving medications and may suffer severe consequences if the medication regime is interrupted. Local hospitals may not have enough medications on hand to meet the rapid influx of an evacuation of this type, needing specialty medications. This session will investigate the EMD’s role in triaging these calls for help.
Maintaining EMD Certification
Maintaining EMD certification requires the ability to perform the task accurately and requires documented proof of continuing education. Characteristics of the high-performing EMDs are discussed, as well as refusal, suspension, or revocation of certification and the associated liabilities.
Spinal Cord and Vertebral Column
The spinal column consists of 33 bones in five sections which protect the spinal cord.  The spinal cord is the vital column running the length of the spine. It is responsible for carrying messages from all parts of the body to the brain, and from the brain to the body.  This session will investigate the spinal cord and vertebral column and calls the EMD may receive where the patient may experience breaks to the vertebra and cuts to the spinal cord.
Medical Differences Between Male and Female
Cardiac events present differently, and abdominal/pelvic pain indicates different issues in males and females.  This session examines the importance of obtaining the sex and age of the patient and the potential causes of the symptoms reported.  
3 Phases of Dispatch
Successful processing of any incident starts with the basics of call handling. In this back-to- the-basics session, the EMD will review the three phases of the call-taking and dispatch function.  Each phase is reviewed in-depth, including the EMD’s roles and responsibilities. How the phases impact the overall success of the entire response are discussed.
Obstructed Airway
An obstructed airway is an emergency! The common causes and symptoms of obstruction are examined, along with risk factors. EMD protocols for airway management are reviewed.
EMD Liability
It is important for the EMD to consider what is reasonable in various situations and consider the standard expected performance. This session will focus on the concepts of reasonableness, the emergency rule, and foreseeability and the reliability and accuracy of what the EMD is being told.
Kounis Syndrome
Also known as Allergic Acute Coronary Syndrome, Kounis Syndrome is caused by allergic reactions to chemicals, food products or insect bites.  Original symptoms can present as a rash and lead to life-threatening anaphylactic reactions. This session discusses how patients with coronary disease can experience myocardial infarction because of allergic reaction. 
Telematics and EMS
This session will take a deeper look at information that vehicle telematics systems can provide to the EMD and what the information translates to regarding the mechanism of injury, probability of trauma, the need for extrication, life flights or surgeons on standby.
EMS Personnel Can Be Targets Too
EMS personnel have been victims of personal attack, rescue units have been disabled or stolen, and personnel and equipment have been targets during civil unrest.  Examples of recent events involving injury and death to EMS workers are examined during this session.
They Are Not 'Silly' Questions
An EMD who does not understand the how’s and whys of the EMD guide cards may find the questions to be “silly”, which enhances the caller’s frustration with answering essential vital points questions.  The EMD’s understanding and perception of the program significantly impact the overall success of the EMD program.
High-Risk Pregnancy
The age of the mother, a history of a complicated pregnancy, pregnancy loss, and having a child with a congenital disability are common signs of a high-risk pregnancy. Medical conditions and physical symptoms that may complicate the pregnancy and delivery are considered.

Annual Subscription

$119 non-member
$109 APCO member
$99 per person (group of 26-50 registrants)
$89 per person (group of 51+ registrants)

Purchase Illuminations

  • Go to the EMD Illuminations registration page, where you will see a list of classes by date.
  • Select the month for the version of EMD Illuminations you want to take
  • Click Register next to that topic and month.
  • Follow the instructions to complete registration for this track.

You will be subscribed to EMD Illuminations for 12 months starting with the month and topic you selected.