1. #1
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Borderstate
    Posts
    900

    Angry Look it up in the phonebook!

    No Help from 911? Scott County Family Told "Wrong Number"
    Janis Edmon / Matt Tettelbach
    Action News 36
    Mar 7, 06:59 AM EST





    When you dial 911, seconds count.

    But when a Scott County family called, they didn't get help.

    And they turned to us for answers.

    Mary Raborn says she was just getting up, to get the kids ready for school, when she smelled smoke.

    After getting the kids outside, Mary says her fiancé grabbed her cell phone and called 911.

    “He said my house was on fire,” Mary recounts. “She asked for the address and she says, ‘That's Georgetown. We can't help you.’ He said, ‘Can you hook me up with Georgetown?’ She said, ‘Look it up in the phonebook.’”

    As Mary tried to fight the fire, she says her fiancé ran to her mother’s house several houses away to call 911.

    “From the time we made the first call to Lexington, until firemen showed up to the house, it took almost 30 minutes,” Mary says.

    David Lucas, director of the 911 service in Lexington, says that shouldn't have happened.

    Apparently, Mary's Fayette County cell phone connected to Lexington's 911 Center, even though her mobile home is in Scott County.

    But Lucas says the Fayette County operator still should have helped.

    “They need to be retrained if that's an issue. But on our consoles, we have all the adjacent counties – it should be a button transfer.”

    Lucas says this isn't the first time something like this has happened with 911 cell phone calls, but he will look into it.

    He suggests a land-line.

    Mary says she’s just happy everyone got out alive.

    Because of the fire, the Raborn family is homeless this morning.

    If you would like to help out the Raborns, a fund has been set up at the Integra Bank.
    Always a day late and a dollar short!

    Hillbilly Irish!

  2. #2
    Early Adopter
    cozmosis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 1999
    Location
    Arkansas
    Posts
    1,925

    Default Been there, Done that

    I've had that happen to me. I've been in one county, dialed 911, reaching a neighboring county's dispatch center and was told that I couldn't be transferred. Unfortunatley, I'm sure this happens more often than we'd all like to admit. I attribute these instances to 70% lack of training and 30% burnout. Good leadership can help cure both. However, what I've learned in my state is that emergency communications is often an afterthought -- in training, compensation and funding. And, as the saying goes, you get what you pay for.

  3. #3
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    956

    Default

    Going to second that one again cozmosis, had it happen in MN two years ago, driving twoards Minneapolis I winessed an accident, called 911 and got a county on the south east corner of the state, my phone was roaming...that was fantastic. I'm just glad it was not a critical patient, and the dispatcher on the other end was competent enough to know what happend.
    FF/NREMT-B

    FTM-PTB!!

    Brass does not equal brains.

    Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the ability to control it.

  4. #4
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Roch
    Posts
    135

    Default

    When I was a dispatcher, this happened to us occasionally, usually from one of the surrounding counties. We had speed dials to the dispatch centers of all of the surrounding counties and the Thruway dispatcher for the SPs so we could keep the caller on the line, conference the dispatcher of the appropriate county into the call, and give him or her the basic info, then make sure that the dispatcher and caller could talk to each other and cut myself out of the call.

    If the caller was in a county that I could not connect them to, the info file had direct numbers of a bunch more dispatch offices, so that I could look up the number and give it to them. If they were far away, such as downstate, Pennsylvania or (occasionally) Canada, I was out of luck, and I had to advise them (after getting some basic info) to hang up and try 911 again. If they were that far away, it was usually some kind of routing glitch, and the computers did it right the second time.

  5. #5
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Location
    KENTUCKY
    Posts
    410

    Default

    That particular location is a fairly large "mobile home neighborhood" that actually spans the Scott/Fayette County line. A few mobile home lots are split by the county line. A nearby cell phone tower is in Fayette County, and coincidently, located even closer to another large "mobile home neighborhood". Thanks, to Phase 2, the address of the tower pops up on the dispatcher's screen when a call comes in. Think we've ever had problems with that before??? U betcha.

  6. #6
    Forum Member
    KEEPBACK200FEET's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    East Carolina University
    Posts
    1,176

    Default

    I called 911 yesterday and no one answered. Go figure.
    Just know, I chose my own fate. I drove by the fork in the road and went straight.

    Quote Originally Posted by FlyingKiwi View Post
    Go put your pussy 2 1/2" lines away kiddies.

    Quote Originally Posted by Explorer343

    By the way KEEPBACK200FEET, you're so dramatic!

  7. #7
    MembersZone Subscriber
    JHR1985's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    DFW
    Posts
    1,918

    Default

    my favorite 911 mishap was when a guy said "Yeah, I called 911 last night but it didnt work."

    My response: Oh yeah, did you dial 911?

    Yeah, I dialed 817-911 (area code). Try to contain yourself on that one

  8. #8
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Posts
    95

    Default

    I have called 911 from my cell in my own county and recieved a niehgboring county. They just take all the info and call the other county. Seams like the right thing to do. As far as being told to get a phonebook if true. The dispatcher should be terminated, they are supposed to do everything possible to help the caller.
    Stay Safe and live long

  9. #9
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    142

    Default

    GeezUs, that never happens here. I used to be a 911 dispatcher, and we would always get cell phone calls for neighboring districts and counties. We would never hang up on them, or give them a smart@$$ remark as "look it up in the phone book." We would, and still do, help them as best we could, get the best general idea we could as to where they were, then transfer or conference call them to that dispatch center. Or we would get all of the callers info, then call that dispatch center ourselves.

  10. #10
    Permanently Removed
    CALFFBOU's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    CA
    Posts
    6,520

    Default

    I honestly do not feel to bad for the non-landline people who say "I just use a cell phone only." I offen tell people- "Youre gonna be screwed if you need 9-1-1 and they cant trace your call."
    Last edited by CALFFBOU; 03-12-2006 at 05:57 AM.

  11. #11
    55 Years & Still Rolling
    hwoods's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Glenn Dale Md, Heart of the P.G. County Fire Belt....
    Posts
    10,739

    Exclamation Happens Here Too.......

    Large Metro areas have the same problems. AND, here, you can get put on hold, or the phone can ring and no one answers. The good thing is the Call Takers and Dispatchers are excellent folks who do a great job, but Technology issues within the communications industry still persist.
    Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
    In memory of
    Chief Earle W. Woods, 1912 - 1997
    Asst. Chief John R. Woods Sr. 1937 - 2006

    IACOJ Budget Analyst

    I Refuse to be a Spectator. If I come to the Game, I'm Playing.

    www.gdvfd18.com

  12. #12
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    May 1999
    Location
    Here, There, Everywhere
    Posts
    4,191

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by CALFFBOU
    I honestly do not feel to bad for the non-landline people who say "I just use a cell phone only." I offen tell people- "Youre gonna be screwed if you need 9-1-1 and they cant trace your call."
    These bad boys ALWAYS work.



    FTM-PTB

  13. #13
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    465

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by CALFFBOU
    I honestly do not feel to bad for the non-landline people who say "I just use a cell phone only." I offen tell people- "Youre gonna be screwed if you need 9-1-1 and they cant trace your call."
    That's a ****-poor excuse for what happened here. We have this happen quite often in our area, and the dispatcher will take the callers info and call the right dispatch center themselves.

    I hope you are not defending this dispatcher?

  14. #14
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    S.E. Idaho
    Posts
    915

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by WebFire
    I hope you are not defending this dispatcher?
    I'm not defending anyone here, but be careful to jump to conclusions and/or attack anyone without "walking a mile in thier shoes".
    Webfire, I don't know you or your background so I may be way off.

    People in dire circumstances have horrendus time estimates. “From the time we made the first call to Lexington, until firemen showed up to the house, it took almost 30 minutes,” Mary says. Was this really thirty minutes or 7 minutes? Who really knows?

    I know here on Christmas Day I responded first due to a house fire. Great knock on the fire, saved the presents & tree. Next day the owners are trying to organize a rally because "it was thirty minutes after the fire truck showed up before they started putting water on the fire". Not true, the fire was knocked down and placed under control within 8 minutes of first unit arriving on the scene. From dispatch to under control, approx 13 minutes.

    I've been a dispatcher for about 7 years now. We have a local call center in our area. Once someone defunks on a cell phone bill and the phone gets shut off the calls they make (with certain companies) rings into this call center. I've taken 911 calls from people on the BQE (I later found out this is the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway). Where I'm at there is no BQE. Where is the BQE? There's a car crash on the BQE. WHO AM I SUPPOSED TO CALL? Another call I took from this same call center was a young girl who someone was trying to break into her apartment. She was just across the river from the Wal-Mart. Hmmm.... no river near our Wal-Mart. What was her address? I couldn't understand. First clue, she has a THICK southern accent. Turns out she was in New Orleans. It took me a few minutes to figure that one out.

    Does anyone know how many calls, on average, the dispatchers will take for a non-injury accident? Here in our small area of the world, any given day and time of day will get 50+ cell phone 911 calls for a non-injury accident. Any guess for an injury accident? I don't know that number. But in this day and age with EVERYONE having a cell phone, NO ONE stops to check for injuries.

    Not justifying this story or dispatcher response. Just pointing out that strange things do happen.

    Just putting in my piece.

    *Mark
    Last edited by mark440; 03-13-2006 at 11:17 AM.
    FTM-PTB-RFB-EGH

  15. #15
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    42

    Default

    I've been in dispatch for just over a year now. What this dispatcher did was stupid...we have speed dial to the surrounding counties and we can transfer them by pushing 1 button. There's no reason that EVERY dispatch center in the country shouldn't have the surrounding agencies on speed dial so they can transfer them.

    Phase II still dosn't work with our E911 as far as jurisdictional boundaries go. It will show the caller's location on my map, but when I go to transfer the info from the ALI to CAD, CAD will use the tower location.

  16. #16
    Permanently Removed
    CALFFBOU's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    CA
    Posts
    6,520

    Default

    No, I am ****ed at the citizens who choose to live by cell phone alone. Its the roll of the dice they make. There is no ANI (address trace) for a cell.

    So, if you choose not to have a land line and go "cell only", thats fine for you. But then dont get upset when youre chocking, cant talk and they cant ANI the call to come get you.

    (I will admit, most people go cell only because they are cheap. I cant justify my personal safety over a few dollars a month)

  17. #17
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Posts
    36

    Default

    This may be a bit off-topic, but I think it sorta relates to issues surrounding dispatch.

    11:30 p.m., our station is toned out for a structure fire. We get on scene, start taking care of business, and two of our guys are injured. This was a meth lab and the investigation is still in progress, so I won't go into any details there; however I'm nominating this situation for the "WTF of the Year Award."

    Command contacts dispatch to advise them that we need EMS...asap. What came out of the radio after that sorta frosted my mini wheats...

    "Command, please advise your address."
    "Ma'am, we're at the structure fire on xyz road."
    "Command, what are the numerics?"
    "Stand by."

    Command had to leave post to walk back down a dirt driveway...nearly a hundred yards, to see if there was a mailbox with an address on it.

    Now, who toned us out if they didn't have the address? They themselves had given us some pretty specific instructions on how to get there, and we don't necessarily memorize addresses, esp. when they are on county roads with 5 digits. Our addresses go something like this: '13750 county road 41515'. So, if we tend to put the addy out of our mind once we get on scene, wouldn't that be understandable?

    I'm still trying to figure out how they dispatched us if they didn't know where we were.

    It was discussed later, and someone tried to attribute the problem to ETMC dispatch. (ETMC is the private contract EMS provider for our county.) It seems that they won't roll a box until they have a numeric address to enter into their system. That leaves us wondering how they dispatch personnel to mva's on remote stretches of rural highways.

    Is it just me, or does there seem to be a problem here? Please tell me that it's not a conspiracy. If I take the little pink pill, will I feel better about it tomorrow?

  18. #18
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    S.E. Idaho
    Posts
    915

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by direvindex
    This may be a bit off-topic, but I think it sorta relates to issues surrounding dispatch.

    I'm still trying to figure out how they dispatched us if they didn't know where we were.
    Is it possible there was a shift change? Are there more than 2 dispatchers on at any given time? If they dispatched you with "very specific" instructions and you found it, is it asking you too much to give an accurate address upon arrival?
    Does it not make any sense that, if you send someone on a "rat chase" and they can find it, give you an address and then you dispatch more help to this incident, would it not make sense to give an address instead of another "rat chase"?

    *Mark
    FTM-PTB-RFB-EGH

  19. #19
    Forum Member
    ve2vfd's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    9

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Engine76KS
    I've been in dispatch for just over a year now. What this dispatcher did was stupid....
    I agree, I was a fire dispatcher years ago, even before we had the fancy ANI computers and all in the dispatch and each borough had it's own dispatch.

    We had to ask questions to the caller, and if he had been transfered to the wrong borough (or even wrong city!) we still took down the info and kept the caller on the line and then called the proper dispatch and either transfered him, or gave that dispatch the info.

    "Look it up in the phone book" is not an acceptable answer under ANY circumstances. It's the dispatchers duty to do everything in his power to help the caller, and it doesn't matter if the caller is on a landline or two darn tin cans and a string. What that dispatcher did was very unprofessional.

    Just my 2 cents worth...

    Pat

  20. #20
    MembersZone Subscriber
    Dickey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2000
    Location
    Wisconsin
    Posts
    5,112

    Default

    I am a dispatcher of 9 years now in my county for 18 different police, fire and EMS agencies.

    The single most important problem with cell phones calling 911 is the cell tower system. It all depends on how strong your signal is, how dead the phone battery is, what time of day, what brand you have, if you are roaming or in your "home"area all determines how many switching stations you go through before you get a PSAP(Public Safety Answering Point). For example, If you have Alltel for your service, you are "roaming", chances are you will keep switching from tower to tower until you get an "Alltel friendly" tower that will switch you to a PSAP. Alltel does not contract with all other cell companies to use their towers across the country. If you are not on a tower that is contractually available for your service, you get bumped to the next tower until you are.

    Another reason is tower signal and phone battery strength. This will change depending on location. You could be bounced through several switching stations before you get someone. For example, Eau Claire, WI is 90 miles due east of Minneapolis, MN. I answered a caller who was on I-94 near Tomah, WI, about 100 miles south of Eau Claire. There really is no rhyme or reason to it at all.

    I am familiar with only one provider who programs their towers to call the local PSAP of where their tower is located. When they put a new tower up, or service their existing one, they will call 911 using that tower to see if it goes to the proper PSAP. If not, they will change it. Not all providers do this. They let the cell/landline interface and the switching stations worry about where the call goes, thats another problem. Each company does it differently, there is no standard to adhere to.

    Even if that is corrected, Phase II, the huge GPS triangulation locater of cell callers, will in most cases, give you the address of the tower, NOT where the phone is. If it all works like it is supposed to, you call 911, it comes to the proper PSAP with your GPS cordinates. Those GPS numbers are put into a mapping system of your area and pin pointed on a map so you can get an address or location to send help. This is a huge task to get all the software to be compatible with each other and to get all PSAP's to get that equipment. Huge huge money for that. Most places need to establish the proper infrastructure before worrying about this.

    What we do here is we have each surrounding county PSAP in a one button speed dial. If we take a call from another county, we most often transfer them to that county. Sometimes we take the info and forward it but that is rare. Much quicker to transfer someone direct than to relay info. through a 3rd party.

    The dispatchers comment of "look it up" is very wrong. However, NOT in his defense, there are some agencies I know of that you can't transfer to. Some PSAP's are very old, use old equipment, and have some serious interoperability problems due to after thought and very low budgets. Some radio and phone systems are literally held together with tape and wire.

    It has been my experience each 911 dispatcher center is unique and no two are the same. Different set up, different Computer Aided Dispatch systems, different radio systems, different ways of doing things. Even our next door neighbors do it completly different. Where I work, we are all in one room. If PD needs EMS for something, that dispatcher does it or asks a partner to do it. This is not always the case any place else. EMS, PD and Fire dispatchers could be in 3 different locations. Again, huge interoperability problems.

    To make a long story short........that dispatcher should be "coached" on the proper way of handling that type of call. Also.......it's not always the dispatchers fault. In this particular case it is.
    Last edited by Dickey; 03-16-2006 at 11:21 PM.
    Jason Knecht
    Assistant Chief
    Altoona Fire Dept.
    Altoona, WI

    IACOJ - Director of Cheese and Whine
    http://www.cheddarvision.tv/
    EAT CHEESE OR DIE!!

  21. #21
    Forum Member
    MemphisE34a's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Memphis, TN - USA
    Posts
    2,531

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by CALFFBOU
    No, I am ****ed at the citizens who choose to live by cell phone alone. Its the roll of the dice they make. There is no ANI (address trace) for a cell.

    So, if you choose not to have a land line and go "cell only", thats fine for you. But then dont get upset when youre chocking, cant talk and they cant ANI the call to come get you.

    (I will admit, most people go cell only because they are cheap. I cant justify my personal safety over a few dollars a month)
    I have not had a land line phone for a couple of years now because I do not need one. Cheap? Maybe, but I don't see the need to pay for a service that I don't need.

    As far as your scenario goes, will your city or county dispatch the fire department and an ambulance to save your life. I doubt it. Like everywhere else in the country it will be given to the police only as a low priority 911 hang up or kids playing on the phone. Lets face it, if your choking and can't talk your screwed no matter how you call.
    Last edited by MemphisE34a; 03-18-2006 at 12:58 AM.
    RK
    cell #901-494-9437

    Management is making sure things are done right. Leadership is doing the right thing. The fire service needs alot more leaders and a lot less managers.

    "Everyone goes home" is the mantra for the pussification of the modern, American fire service.


    Comments made are my own. They do not represent the official position or opinion of the Fire Department or the City for which I am employed. In fact, they are normally exactly the opposite.

  22. #22
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Posts
    77

    Default

    look it up in the phone book and the house is on fire?

    what happened to get everyone out asap?

  23. #23
    Forum Member
    MrJim911's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    225

    Default

    I am also a Telecommunicator. A few points to make about alot of things that were discussed in this thread.

    GPS and Tower Triangulation are two totally different things. GPS is global positioning satellite technology and is more accurate. Tower triangulation generalizes a location based on a cell phones signals bouncing off multiple cell towers.

    Additionally, Phase II wireless is plotting a cell callers location using one of the above two methods. If all your getting is tower location with a callback number, then it's Phase I only.

    Location depends on how many providers route their calls to the correct PSAP. In Illinois this is done by ALL providers: Nextel, Verizon, T-Mobile, Cingular, etc... If someone calls 911 from their cell phone in my area it's coming to me. But if you look at California, all cell calls go to the CA State Police. (Although they have begun changing that recently)

    There are many reason 911 centers can't and don't have speed dials to EVERY surrounding agency, #1 being they are not given the proper technology to accomodate that many speed dial options and/or they don't have the funding to accomplish such goals.

    That is irrelevant though as calls can be transferred by simply using hookflash.

    There are times, believe it or not!, that callers don't know where they are at. So I may very well send you to a structure fire without an address. There are many times where I've asked command to provide an address once they are able to when they get on scene. This is for proper record keeping and, more importantly, to know where to send any incoming or future mutual aid units. I have no idea how far command or one of his helpers has to walk to get that vital piece of information that the caller could not provide upon the initial call, nor do I care as that infomration helps me get aid to you guys faster.

    To repeat and emphasize what someone else said, what 30 minutes is to me and what 30 minutes is to a caller if OFTEN different. Time is skewed big time when a person is in an emergency situation or even if their simply upset over a non life threatening situation. I've had people call back and demand to know where the pd is because "I called 15 minutes ago!!" I look at my CAD and I'll tell them "Actually sir you called 5 minutes ago and an officer has been on the way since that time."

    Finally, what this call taker did (assuming the media got it right) was very wrong as we all know. She could have taken the info and called the other center herself. She also could have transferred if she had that capability. But even giving the caller the number to call would have been wrong. An emergency situation exists and the caller cannot be expected to be able to successfully do anything else other then make the call she just made and then get everyone out of the house if safe to do so. It doesn't matter if the call is yours or not, you've been given a situation that demands your duties to take care of.
    Last edited by MrJim911; 03-18-2006 at 07:31 PM.

  24. #24
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Essex Junction, VT
    Posts
    409

    Default

    It sucks, but the phone system in my county dispatch won't transfer calls. They are updating it soon thankfully.
    Fir Na Tine
    Fir Na Au Saol

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts

Log in

Click here to log in or register