1. #1
    Forum Member
    stm4710's Avatar
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    Jul 2003

    Default So how close are they

    Just did an OT shift, the question started a brewing in my head after the day was over is how often are you dispatched for something........only to get on scene and find something TOTALLY different. Im not trying to knock dispatchers.....but sometimes I wonder.

    6 of our 8 calls were like that today

    Dispatched as: A person fallen. On scene to find: A man in his chair with chest pain......no fall.

    Dispatched as:Overdose : On scene to find: A person CAOX4 who wanted a ride to the hospital cause it was cold.

    Dispatched to a unresponsive person. On scene a guy in the hall way of an apartment complex saying his nurse fell down and wont get up. We go in NO ONE, nothing, we tossed the apartment looking--my partner saw a quit on the floor but nothing under it, the guy was a looney toon.

    And it just went on from there!!!!!!!
    I dont suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.

  2. #2
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    VinnieB's Avatar
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    Mar 2004
    On the couch in my skivvies


    I've been on both sides. I can tell you it is often very difficult to get accurate info...and its easier to up triage, and let the field units determine whats needed. With that said....I go out all the time for one thing only to find another. But I really don't care, nor do I lose any sleep over it. Each and every run....I think of the same thing....what building I am going to, the floor layout, stair types, etc etc.....thats what I do every time.

  3. #3
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    Aug 2001


    Had one of those that was a classic - call came in mid afternoon for a "shed fire", which got our standard two pumper response. 4 days later the last of 71 companies cleared the scene after we had extinguished a pile of over 250,000 car tyres. Oh, and the nearest shed was over 2 miles away Yup we love our despatchers.

    The other one that comes to mind was a call for a truck fire. Can't blame the despatchers for this one though - first six callers neglected to mention that the truck was a tractor/double trailer combo carrying 18,000 gallons of petrol - would have been nice to find that out at the start instead of 5 minutes after despatch - eventually the info came from the ambulance despatchers!
    Busy polishing the stacked tips on the deckgun of I.A.C.O.J. Engine#1

    ...and before you ask - YES I have done a Bloody SEARCH!

  4. #4
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    Nov 2005
    Nevada, TX, U-S-A!!


    One thing to try and remember is that the info passed to us can only be as good as the info given to the dispatchers. We can't ask the dispatchers to inquire about the situation. They get the initial complaint and send it out as soon as possible to get us there in a timely manner. After that, they may get additional info, but when the person on the other end of the call is in a panic, or insane, it is kinda hard to tell what is really going on. Our dispatchers have been known to get things wrong, but you have to remember what they are sometimes going through (multiple 911 calls at one time, which may or may not be actual emergencies - remember the woman complaining about her fries being cold?). If they get further info, I agree, it would be nice to know about it before we get on scene.

  5. #5
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    Mar 2002
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    One thing to try and remember is that the info passed to us can only be as good as the info given to the dispatchers.
    AMEN TO THAT ONE Malahat gets lots and lots of "drive-by-cell-phone" calls. So details are sketchy at best most times. We always felt fortunate if the incident really did take place in our AOR.
    If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

    "I may be slow, but my work is poor." Chief Dave Balding, MVFD

    "Its not Rocket Science. Just use a LITTLE imagination." (Me)

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  6. #6
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    IACOJRev's Avatar
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    Dec 2002
    SE Michigan


    Quote Originally Posted by MalahatTwo7
    "drive-by-cell-phone" calls.
    We have 3 major freeways running through our city and more often than not, the dispatched location for freeway incidents are a mile or so off. Is this the fault of the dispatcher? No... the callers dial 911 as they continue down the freeway at 70MPH and when the dispatcher asks for the cross-street, the driver looks up and reads the sign of where they are at.

    For multi-car or roll-overs, we usually get several calls and in these cases, majority rules. "Dispatch to units responding, most calls put it at XXX street." On one section of freeway we have automatic mutual aid with a neighboring city because of access issues (a four mile stretch with no on/off ramps and no median cross-overs - just a big cement wall).
    Resident Chaplain of the IACOJ

  7. #7
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    Dec 2005
    clear lake, texas


    i see this from both angles, as a volunteer firefighter, and a full time 911 operator.

    i have been on the truck responding to a " structure fire ", when we arrive, it's an extinguished oven fire.

    alot of it is the sheer panic of people, they just scream into the phone and expect us 911 operators to be mind readers.

    most of our calls get transferred to us from the county, or other police agencies, as we are contracted by several cities for ems. quite a few times i have been cussed at for asking address's when " i told the last person everything, just get here"
    i had one subject swear he was going to hurt me if i asked one more question. it can be hard to PRY information out of people, especially the drive by 911 calls for a million car pile-up that is really a car overheated on the freeway.

  8. #8
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    Dave1983's Avatar
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    Oct 2003
    Gator Country


    I gave up years ago paying attention to information we recive enrout. A couple thousand times of respond to "this" only to find "that" will do that t you. Ive found its much worse on EMS calls then fire.

    No, its not the 911 centers fault, they can only go with what the caller tells them. Although I tend to belive that the questions asked from the EMD cards lead people to give bad information.

    Most callers are in panic mode, and they just dont comprehend the questions being asked. They are also in a hurry to get off the phone to tend to their loved one. So they just say yes or no to the EMD questions without really thinking about what their saying.

    How else do you explain, for example, a trip and fall turning into chest pain with trouble breathing? The dispatcher doesnt make it up.
    Fire Marshal/Safety Officer


    "No his mind is not for rent, to any god or government"
    RUSH-Tom Sawyer

    Success is when skill meets opportunity
    Failure is when fantasy meets reality

  9. #9
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    CommDiva's Avatar
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    Jun 2002
    Acton, Ontario, Canada


    Quote Originally Posted by MalahatTwo7
    "drive-by-cell-phone" calls.
    Yeah, I call those folks "Cell Phone Samaritans"

    I think some people feel that just calling 911 is all they need to do, and then they go on their way, feeling like they've done their civic duty. They go off to work or to home and announce "I called 911 for XYZ, and what a good person I am, blah,blah,blah"!!

    Makes me crazy!!!

    Communications Diva of the IACOJ, and proud member of the WOT!

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  10. #10
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    Ladder8's Avatar
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    Jun 2002
    Possum Lodge


    Then theres the "Cell Phone Saviors"

    Caller: "Hello 911, I was driving home and I saw a guy laying down outside the XYZ store about half an hour ago"

    911: "Did you check on the man's condition?"

    Caller: "Oh no, I don't want to get involved...."
    Be safe y'all!
    IACOJ Animal Control
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    "Quando Omni Flunkus Moritati"

  11. #11
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    jlcooke3's Avatar
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    Apr 2005
    Aiken, SC


    I've been on both sides of the fence. I spent three years as a dispatcher with the last 1 1/2 year as a supervisor (or is it stupidvisor). I am currently a FF/EMT. I am usually the first to take up for dispatch because I have spent some time in the chair dealing with the public. In my experience, most of the time its the caller giving bad or incomplete info, and GOD help you if you have to shoe horn the information into a signal or ten code instead of plain english. Also a lot of people who need a ride know exactly how to answer questions in order to get an emergency response ( you know the same people that bitch when the fire truck shows up first and not the ambulance).

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