« More Domains For Sale! | Main | The Imus Finale »

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

911 Calls-Are Dispatchers Taking Them Seriously?

Just recently, it was brought to my attention that there is a very real problem concerning 911 dispatchers. Now, I am not talking about all of them nor most of them. However, there are some who should not be in that particular job at all.

For instance, there was a recent call to 911 where a little boy said that his mother was on the floor passed out (she had not been drinking). The dispatcher told the boy to stop playing on the phone. This is the actual transcript of the call made by a 5 year old boy:

In a recording of the first call, the son is heard saying, "My mom is passed out." The operator responds, "Where's Mister Turner at?" Robert Turner explains that his mother is unable to talk. The operator then says "Okay, well, I'm going to send the police over to your house to find out what's going on," and then hangs up.

But neither the police nor medical personnel ever arrived, according to family members.

Three hours later, the boy called again.

"It was taking too long," he told a local reporter in Detroit. "And she said the same thing."

In the second call, the operator asks to speak to his mother, "before I send the police over there." She then tells the son, "You shouldn't be playing on the phone. Now put her on the phone before I send the police over there to knock on the door, and you're going to be in trouble."

Again, neither police nor medical personnel responded.

The mother of this young boy died due to the neglect of the dispatcher. This is all too frequent to ignore. In 1994, a boy was being beaten. Over 20 people called in to report this. The dispatchers, that's with an "S", apparently ignored these calls. They were later fired as they should have been. The result: the boy DIED!

In Anderson, SC., sheriff deputies ignored calls, again with an "S", from a STABBING victim.

In Memphis, a 63 year old man lay on the floor of a pool club while other customers frantically called to dispatch to get help. He died because the agencies were fighting over who should respond to the call.

What part of STUPID is this? ALL of it. BUT why is this happening? Shouldn't we be able to count on the 911 call to get help? After all, we are paying taxes so that it can exist.

The reality is that these dispatchers are not certain when the call comes in, if it is legitimate or not. There are thousands of prank calls every year. These calls take their toll in the lack of responses to the real calls because the dispatcher cannot determine if the call is real or not.

One recent survey reported that 25 percent of all 911 calls are pranks, creating a dilemma for emergency agencies. And in 2003, another national study found that 70 percent of all cell phone calls to 911 are dialed inadvertently.

Still, critics say there's not enough training for 911 operators. The National Association of Emergency Numbers says there's not even a national standard for 911 operations.

There is also strong criticism that few communities use enough of their annual budgets to train workers on even the basics of handing emergency calls.

This is positively scary. According to that, we cannot ever completely count on 911 calls to bring help, no matter how critical the need. Don't you think it's time to get ahold of your local authorities and find out what is going on and what you can do to help this situation? If you do not think that this is your problem, wait until you have the need. It might just be too late.