Seniors Shy Away from Calling 911 Emergency

Delaying Treatment: Some think their problem is not an emergency


 
 

Beatriz E. Valenzuela | | Tuesday, July 1, 2008


VICTORVILLE, Calif. -- The emergency 911 telephone system was set up more than 35 years ago and has helped countless people and saved many lives, but there are still those who do not use it when it really counts.

"Especially seniors seem to be timid about calling 911," said Art Bishop, deputy chief of the Apple Valley Fire Protection District. "Many times they will call friends and family out-of-state before they call us."

Helene Dearmon, 56, of Hesperia found herself in a similar situation. Dearmon called her son on June 20 to tell him that she may be going into diabetic shock but he was not certain of her location.

He called emergency services at about 3 p.m., but his mother was not located until almost 4:30 p.m. when Sheriff's Service Specialist Pam Balsitis found Dearmon in her vehicle in the Carl's Jr. parking lot near Bear Valley and Hesperia roads, according to San Bernardino County sheriff's Hesperia station officials.

She was located after her cellular phone company advised the closest tower was at Bear Valley Road and Fifth Avenue, and after Dearmon was able to give a better description of where she was, officials said.

She was taken to Desert Valley Hospital.

The delay in getting her treatment could have been avoided if she would have called 911 from her cell phone, according to Sgt. Ken Lutz.

Hesperia station officials also encourage people with special medical needs to activate their cell phone's GPS service in order to more quickly locate them.

Part of the problem with seniors not calling 911 is that they do not think that their problem is an emergency, said Rita Gay, investigator with AVFPD.

"We have had incidents where friends have to convince these seniors to hang up and call 911 for help," noted Bishop.

Another factor is that people believe that they will be billed for the aid.

Unless they are transported to a hospital by a private ambulance company, people will not get a bill, Bishop said.

"We want to encourage people to use the system for help, that is what we are here for," said Bishop.




Connect: Have a thought or feedback about this? Add your comment now
Related Topics: Communications and Dispatch, Leadership and Professionalism, Special Patients

What's Your Take? Comment Now ...

Featured Careers & Jobs in EMS

 

 

Get JEMS in Your Inbox

 

Fire EMS Blogs


Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts

 

EMS Airway Clinic

Innovation & Progress

Follow in the footsteps of these inspirational leaders of EMS.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

Michigan Ambulance Crash Causes Building Explosion

MMR ring crashed into a gas line at their company quarters.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Two Burned in Phoenix Tanker Fire

40,000-gallon rail car tanker explodes in industrial area.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Maryland Ambulance Company Temporarily Suspended

Company failed to meet Frederick County code standards.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Tennessee County EMS Shows Off CPR Tool

Lucas 2 in service in Bradley County.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

South Korea Ferry Disaster

Death toll expected to rise dramatically.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Boston Bombing Heroes

A look at four who became well known in the tragic bombing.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Fatal, Fiery California Bus Crash

Seven students and two drivers killed in crash.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Field Bridge Xpress ePCR on iPad, Android, Kindle Fire

Sneak peek of customizable run forms & more.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

The AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher Conversion Kit - EMS Today 2013

AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher all-hazards preparedness & response tool
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

VividTrac offered by Vivid Medical - EMS Today 2013

VividTrac, affordable high performance video intubation device.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Braun Ambulances' EZ Door Forward

Helps to create a safer ambulance module.
Watch It >


More Product Videos >