A 911 operator has been placed on paid administrative leave after she failed to dispatch first responders to an emergency scene where a woman later died. While this tragic story did not happen in New York, it is an accident that could happen anywhere.
According to police, a 39 year old was trapped in her vehicle along with her 5-year-old son at about 8 a.m. after she slid off the road and into a pond. Allegedly, the victim told the dispatcher her location and that water was in the vehicle before being told help was on its way. The operator then hung up with the victim.
However, according to the communications director of the police and fire departments, the operator failed to enter the emergency call into a system designed to contact first responders. In addition, the dispatcher did not use a transfer feature to keep in contact with the woman while help was supposed to be contacted.
Although an ambulance arrived on the scene, no other vehicles had arrived. It took 30 minutes for the police and fire departments to be dispatched, thanks to a call from the ambulance.
The woman who placed the 911 call perished hours after the rescue, and her son was in critical condition, according to police. Investigations are still underway to discover what went wrong. The police sergeant said the situation could have been caused by a mechanical error as well as an error by the operator.
The communications director said the operator should have stayed on the line with the victim and her child until all first responders arrived on scene.
An instance such as this can happen at any time and to any driver, even those in New York. Dispatchers should take extra care they handle an emergency situation properly to help those who are in need or in danger.
Source: Fox News, “Arkansas mom dies after 911 call not entered into system, son in critical condition,” the Associated Press, Jan. 17, 2013
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