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NutmegCT
02-14-2008, 07:26 AM
This is horrible. Woman with multiple sclerosis, confined to bed, calls 911 when fire breaks out in home.

Call rings six times, then she's put on hold.

After another 25 seconds, another dispatcher picks up to take call. By the time crews arrived, woman had burned to death in bed.

The kicker: there were ten other emergency dispatchers sitting in the office who ignored her first call. They could give no reason for ignoring her call.

https://www.philly.com/philly/news/homepage/20080214_15_punished_for_911_call_response.html

Tom

Brooklands
02-14-2008, 08:10 AM
And no one lost their job at the 911 Center either. This has been all over the local news for several days. A sad tale indeed.

DrEntropy
02-14-2008, 08:11 AM
Deplorable behavior by those who're supposed to be there as "first responders". This kind of "government job" mentality is rampant, tho. Down here we've just had a "moment of insanity" exhibited by a jail worker. Dumped a quadriplegic from a wheelchair for not standing up on command, then others around the scene were see to be standing about LAUGHING while the quad is lolling on the floor after a face-plant... absolutely ignorant.

https://www2.tbo.com/content/2008/feb/14/na-disabled-man-wants-deputy-charged/

Waiting for "the rest of the story" to learn what the circumstances were.

sparkydave
02-14-2008, 08:37 AM
That's awful. It's bad enough when it happens in a call center for tech support (I've been there), but in a 911 call center??

NutmegCT
02-14-2008, 08:48 AM
The more I think about it, the more I realize it's not exactly a rare occurrence.

- Waiting for service at a fast-food place while six employees stand around yakking to each other.

- Calling an 800 customer assistance line where you can't hear the support guy because there's a loud office party going on in the background.

- Go to register for a class and the clerk ignores you while talking on her cell phone about last night's date.

- Go to buy spark plugs and wait at the register while four guys play video games at the "order terminal".

Hate to say it, but sure reminds me of "public service" when I was visiting East Berlin in the 1960s. "We're here - what else are we supposed to do - pay us."

T.

DougF
02-15-2008, 12:42 AM
Two years ago I called 911 to have police come so we could enter an elderly neighbor's home who was not responding to phone calls. When I called 911 the second time, the guy argued with me about how long it had been since my first call.
The idiot never told the police that we needed immediate assistance. Unfortunately, it didn't matter, she had passed the previous night.
The policeman told me that these things happen regularly because the jobs are minimum wage and don't attract many reliable individuals.
Oh, the time from my first call to the time we found her was about 40 minutes.

aerog
02-15-2008, 06:58 AM
Meanwhile one of the local TV stations did an expose' on some of the stupid calls they get here that sometimes slows the system. They played the actual calls... the best ones were in Spanish. One was something like "Necesito el numero para call girl". The 911 op kept talking to him, trying to figure out what he wanted but couldn't understand so he finally put a friend on that spoke some English. He said "he needs please the number for call girls".

There were a lot of others too.

My personal policy is 911 is for calls where someone is in obvious and imminent danger. A fire, a break-in, a car wreck, etc. Otherwise I call the police directly.

For example, I made a "suspicious car" call directly to police several months ago. There were four cars, actually. They were racing around the neighborhood then ended up screeching to a halt and parked on our property, lights off. I called the Sheriff's office (non-emergency line). They answered on the first ring. I told her what was going on, where the cars were, how many people I thought were there, and explained it was just really odd to have that happen in this neighborhood. There were two Sheriff's cars here in less than 5 minutes after the call.

aerog
02-15-2008, 06:59 AM
Waiting for "the rest of the story" to learn what the circumstances were.

As of last night they suspended her without pay. They have a whole list of complaints about her already.

NutmegCT
02-15-2008, 07:08 AM
DougF: The policeman told me that these things happen regularly because the jobs are minimum wage and don't attract many reliable individuals.

Doug - minimum wage? You mean that where you live the 911 dispatchers are paid minimum wage?

Yikes!

Tom

DrEntropy
02-15-2008, 07:28 AM
This is gonna result in a feeding frenzy, and there'll be a "Marshall-Jones treatment" idiom introduced to our lingo.

"Don't TIP me Sis!" /bcforum/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/devilgrin.gif

...I only wish they'd adjudicate taking the first installment of his settlement from HER. Start with her pension. 22 years' worth might JUST cover court costs. That'd get the attention of any habitual "power abusers"...

The cynic in me suspects she's just the tip of a large system-wide iceburg.

02-15-2008, 08:53 AM
Ya think...

DougF
02-15-2008, 10:16 AM
Unfortunately, in PA, our state officials have their priorities a little mixed up. Politicians are more mind set on their reelection than on the good of the county/state/country.
Some day something will happen in our 911 system, the media will pick it up, and it will become an important issue.

NutmegCT
02-15-2008, 11:36 AM
Doug - that is incredible. Do hospital emergency room staff get minimum wage in PA too?

I've been hearing more and more "911 call" tapes in the news recently. Wonder if that will cause some changes ... or will more folks just shrug and say "isn't that terrible???".

yeesh ....

Tom

Steve
02-15-2008, 11:40 AM
I can speak as someone who used to be a first-responder. I also worked for a while as a dispatcher for a local police department.

The trend recently has been to centralise the control rooms, taking it away from individual departments. All well and good, but in doing so you are sacrificing local knowledge and hands-on involvement. The local authority here has now stated that they are planning on taking their dispatch operations back, regardless of the fact that it will cost more, because the new central dispatch centre does not match their standards. Good for them, I say.

The fact that the mayor used to be a patrol officer helps enormously, I think.

The fact of the matter is that first-responders, whether in the police or fire departments, take what they do very seriously indeed, and get frustrated by the inefficiency and idleness of those who do not take things quite so seriously.

Yes, paying minimum wage to dispatchers is a recipe for disaster. It can be a stressful job, much more so than actually being out on the street at the sharp end (I have done both, I speak from experience). They should recruit staff from retired first-responders, and pay them well. Consequently, the efficiency would improve, things would get done, and they would find that they could comfortably reduce the amount of people needed to staff the control room. Six people who are paid well, know what they are doing, and take pride in it will be cheaper and more effective in the long run than twelve idiots being paid minimum wage.

My two cents worth.

NutmegCT
02-15-2008, 11:43 AM
Steve: " Six people who are paid well, know what they are doing, and take pride in it will be cheaper and more effective in the long run than twelve idiots being paid minimum wage."

/bcforum/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/iagree.gif

T.

vagt6
02-15-2008, 01:39 PM
I don't disagree at all about crappy service, but to me, it's not the employees' fault: it's poor management and probably poor leadership (or lack thereof).

Without good management, employees are bound to perform badly.

Our tax dollars at work . . . /bcforum/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/troll.gif

DougF
02-15-2008, 05:07 PM
Our local firemen work for free and we get excellent service. I guess it all evens out in the wash.
Emergency room staff? I'm sure they get a good wage, but our state is having problems keeping Dr.'s, RN's, and LPN's.

Steve
02-15-2008, 05:46 PM
I don't disagree at all about crappy service, but to me, it's not the employees' fault: it's poor management and probably poor leadership (or lack thereof).

Without good management, employees are bound to perform badly.

Our tax dollars at work . . . /bcforum/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/troll.gif

Good point, but in my experience, good employees (emphasis on the word "good") do not need close supervision. I sure as heck don't, never did....

Steve
02-15-2008, 05:48 PM
Our local firemen work for free and we get excellent service. I guess it all evens out in the wash.
Emergency room staff? I'm sure they get a good wage, but our state is having problems keeping Dr.'s, RN's, and LPN's.

I take your point with regard to your local firefighters, but they are volunteers, they WANT to do this! More power to 'em!

DrEntropy
02-15-2008, 07:24 PM
Indeed, Steve. Two of my nephews are "there". Both in Miami. One a S.W.A.T. cop, the other an EMT firefighter. Both are stellar. And I have a number of friends and acquaintances here in HCSO. One, in fact looks to appear in that video.

Bad part is: in positions of responsibilty it only takes ONE sluff-off to cause a REAL problem for the rest. Not to mention what the potential reprocussion is for the folks in peril.

Like Scott, I call dispatch. They likely have a li'l asterisk pop up with my name, they usually show within five or ten minutes. 911 for fire emergencies or life-threat circumstances only.

vagt6
02-16-2008, 08:25 AM
I don't disagree at all about crappy service, but to me, it's not the employees' fault: it's poor management and probably poor leadership (or lack thereof).

Without good management, employees are bound to perform badly.

Our tax dollars at work . . . /bcforum/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/troll.gif

Good point, but in my experience, good employees (emphasis on the word "good") do not need close supervision. I sure as heck don't, never did....

Yes, but try FINDING and hiring "good" low-wage employees for service-sector jobs in today's marketplace (they're non-existent, for most practical purposes): you can only hire the folks who show up for interviews.

Which takes us back to the top of this tread . . .

aerog
02-16-2008, 10:58 AM
911 for fire emergencies or life-threat circumstances only.

...and in similar news, I have a neighbor (in her mid 50s I'd guess) that calls 911 and ties up a crew several times a year for the last few years. She gets what she calls an "anxiety" attack brought on by things like the (no joke) "ghost of her dead mother flushing her toilet".

Here's the problem: we live all of five minutes from an excellent hospital. They have a yard full of cars, a daughter with a big family that lives a few houses away, and another that lives one street over. They call 911 and usually an ambulance and firetruck get dispatched to the house (which takes about the same amount of time it would take if they drove her to the ER). The ambulance and firetruck sit here for 30-60 minutes dealing with her, then she's out in her yard like nothing ever happened.

Whether she actually ever pays for this service is anybody's guess... but it galls me that all these emergency responders are tied up because a nutty woman is upset because a ghost is flushing her toilet - and her family refuses to take any more responsibility than dial 911 when the "ghost" appears.

NutmegCT
02-16-2008, 11:06 AM
boy oh boy oh boy ... do I ever wish I had a nickel for every time I've seen people doing selfish, thoughtless, and/or irresponsible things.

- extreme sports where people get into trouble and the county spends gazillions to rescue them.

- a healthcare system where people go to ERs for basic care.

- neighbors who think it's funny to let their garbage pile up and the wind blow it around the neighborhood.

note to self: don't even get started on that ....

Sensible people design sensible systems. But those systems aren't always used by sensible people.

T.

DrEntropy
02-16-2008, 11:23 AM
Yeah, Scott, we have one'a them here, too. My neighborhood is "diverse" like that. Good 'n bad. Wouldn't trade it tho. No deed restricted "house farm" for me. If I wanna start a fire inna back yard, I do. One next-door neighbor has one goin' right now, slowly burning off the fallen leaves. She's got her hose to the ready, always responsible. It's 'home.'

GregW
02-16-2008, 12:16 PM
Iím not condoning what happened. On the flipside are the stupid people that use 911 for selfish reasons. Hereís a 911 tape that is a good example. I think the 911 operator spend too much time with this wack job though. I would have hung up much sooner. Burger King 911 (https://www.break.com/index/burger_king_911.html)

aerog
02-16-2008, 04:36 PM
That has GOT TO BE A JOKE! I know it's a real call, but someone had to have been doing it as a prank. Right? Please tell me I'm right... please! /bcforum/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/smile.gif

PS: Oh wait, it's probably Britney Spears anyway - right? RIGHT!?

GregW
02-16-2008, 05:28 PM
Believe me, Iíd love to have someone give me the Snopes URL that says it ainít so. The woman had no clue her actions werenít justified and she could be endangering someone in a real emergency be wasting 911ís time. Ugh!

2wrench
02-18-2008, 02:02 AM
I dialed 911.

Operator could not dispatch help without knowing what
city I was in.

Problem was, I was not in city limits; I was on a
county road between two cities. I explained this
describing my direction of travel and approximate
distance from the city in front of me and the one
behind me.

She said if I could not tell her what city I was in,
she couldn't help me and hung up.

I called back and explained the situation once again.
She reiterated if I couldn't tell her what city I was
in, she couldn't help me and hung up.

Minimum wage intelligence? Don't know, but I can
certainly believe it could factor in, here.

aerog
02-18-2008, 07:48 AM
Believe me, Iíd love to have someone give me the Snopes URL that says it ainít so. The woman had no clue her actions werenít justified and she could be endangering someone in a real emergency be wasting 911ís time. Ugh!

Yeah but... heck, it goes way beyond wasting the 911 operator's time. She actually wanted the police to go in and force the place to make her a burger?

Argh. Just... Argh.