Although his title officially reads “OnStar Emergency Advisor,” Bryan Anta believes he serves two distinctive roles within the OnStar organization.
“As an OnStar Emergency Advisor, I can help with anything from routing urgent calls – like to a hospital or a veterinarian – to emergency door unlocks if someone is locked in the vehicle,” says Anta. “But once I receive an EMD call, I essentially function as a 9-1-1 call taker. I use the same line of questioning as 9-1-1 and provide medical assistance where I can.”
EMD stands for Emergency Medical Dispatch, a service provided by a subset of specially trained OnStar Advisors. These advisors are trained to use the Medical Priority Dispatch System®, a medical protocol that determines the urgency of an emergency and guides advisors to provide medical instructions before first responders can arrive.
Anta, who started with OnStar in May 2010, initially handled mostly OnStar Navigation calls, where he provided Turn-by-Turn directions to subscribers. However, he quickly found he enjoyed helping customers with more pressing matters.
“When I did Navigation, I found the most fulfillment handling any type of urgent request, even if that was just transferring a call to the Emergency team,” says Anta. “When a job posting on the Emergency team opened up, I was a little apprehensive at first because of the level of responsibility attached to each call. But I love helping people and the training here is great, so I gave it a shot.”
Anta seems to have found his true calling as part of OnStar’s Emergency team. Apparently, the International Academy of Emergency Dispatch™ (IAED™) agrees, as it named him the 2014 Dispatcher of the Year. This distinction is given to the dispatcher who has made the most significant contributions in their field over the past year. Anta is the first OnStar advisor to ever win the award, and his innate ability to understand the caller’s situation and respond quickly were commended by the IAED.
In order to become an OnStar Emergency Advisor, Anta underwent approximately eight weeks of emergency training. This included learning new protocols and programs, responding to mock emergency calls, responding to real calls under supervision and EMD training provided by the IAED. After completing this process, he was finally ready to handle emergency OnStar calls on his own.
“EMD calls are a lot more pressure because the choices I make could mean the difference between life or death,” Anta says. “I’ve been doing EMD for about three years now and even though every situation is different, I’m very confident handling these calls. I feel like I can assist in any situation.”
Over the years, Anta has assisted in a number of notable OnStar calls, including helping stranded campers in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and assisting with a passenger who was going into labor in her vehicle.
“That call initially came over as a standard vehicle collision. However, we quickly determined that a passenger in one of the vehicles was going into labor,” says Anta. “I jumped into our pregnancy protocol, and we were actually prepared to coach the mother to give birth. Luckily, the first responders arrived in time.”
Bryna Anta is from Whitby, Ontario and attended Durham College. Bryan worked in various customer service jobs to put himself through school before eventually ending up at OnStar. He says that “helping people” is what he’s always wanted to do with his life. The Dispatcher of the Year award is bestowed annually upon the IAED certified emergency dispatcher who has most successfully exemplified the values and mission of the IAED.