Mandatory Training for Florida Dispatchers Under Way - News - @ JEMS.com


Mandatory Training for Florida Dispatchers Under Way

A 2008 murder led to state law requiring mandatory training of 9-1-1 operators


 
 

STEVE REILLY, North Port Sun | | Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Nathan Lee, whose wife's 2008 murder led to state law requiring mandatory training of 911 operators, officiated last week over a second class of graduating area 911 operators.

The Lee County Sheriff's Office established its 911 Public Safety Telecommunications Academy program to train not only Lee County's 911 operators, but those from around South Florida including the Florida Highway Patrol, Lee County Port Authority, Lee County fire and ambulance, the city of Sanibel Department and the Florida Gulf Coast University police department.

Sarasota and Charlotte counties' sheriffs are also training their 911 operators to meet state requirements and the challenges of their jobs.

The Lee Sheriff's Academy class was its second class and a third class is scheduled. Nathan is invited to attend the next class graduation in January.

Denise Amber Lee, a North Port mother of two, died at age 21 in January 2008 at the hands of an abductor. The 911 system failed her as her abductor drove between Sarasota and Charlotte counties.

Despite a call from her on her captor's cellphone and at least four other 911 calls regarding the crime -- including one from a witness who saw the kidnapper's car and stayed on the phone for nine minutes with the 911 call center -- no one was dispatched.

Lee's body was found two days later.

The Denise Amber Lee Foundation's goal is to improve and standardize 911 systems around the country so that other victims and their families never have to experience what the Lees went through.

In the wake of Denise's death, state legislators established and upgraded standards for all 911 operators throughout Florida. The state requires certification by the Florida Department of Health of 911 operators, dispatchers, communications supervisors and any law enforcement officer or firefighter who might be called upon to serve in an emergency communications center.

Up to the enactment of the new law, no standardized training existed in Florida, said Christine Hodges, training coordinator for the academy for the Lee County Sheriff's Office.

'Every agency had its own training program from one week to 800 hours,' Hodges said.

In June, the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office announced state requirements of the 911 training program.

The new requirements include 911 dispatchers taking 232 hours of classroom instruction and being tested to become certified to answer calls. Certification may be renewed by completing 20 hours of training every two years.

Charlotte County Sheriff's Office was the 26th agency to be certified by the state, according to Capt. Sherman Robinson, who oversees the department's logistics division. He said the classroom training helps prepare 911 operators with the basic understanding of what they will encounter with 911 calls.

While the state requires the 232-hour classroom instruction, Robinson said, the Charlotte department requires additional training totaling 320 hours.

'It could take six months before we let them answer the phones alone,' Robinson said.

In 2009, the Lee family filed a wrongful death suit against the Charlotte County Sheriff's Office. The suit was settled in August with the court awarding the Lee family a portion of a $1.25 million settlement. The suit was based on the family's claim that the sheriff's office failed to dispatch deputies after receiving a 911 call related to Denise's abduction.

Mobile Category: 
Training


Copyright © 2013 LexisNexis, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Terms and Conditions | Privacy Policy


Connect: Have a thought or feedback about this? Add your comment now
Related Topics: News, Training, training, dispatch

What's Your Take? Comment Now ...

Buyer's Guide Featured Companies

Featured Careers & Jobs in EMS

Get JEMS in Your Inbox

 

Fire EMS Blogs


Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts

 

EMS Airway Clinic

Improving Survival from Cardiac Arrest Using ACD-CPR + ITD

Using active compression-decompression CPR with an ITD has been shown to improve 1-year survival from cardiac arrest by 33%.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

Three Injured in Philadelphia Collapse

Parapet wall falls through roof of store.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

California Firefighters save Man on Flight

Patient was conscious and talking when United flight landed.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Over Half of Seattle Fire Stations Test Positive for MRSA

Surprisingly high results come from test kits based on earlier study.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Hands On February 2015

Here’s a look at this month’s product hands on.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Nightwatch Series Premiere Party

JEMS Editor-in-Chief A.J. Heightman attends the series premiere of A&E's new reality show, "Nightwatch."
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Ottawa Chemical Investigation

Chemicals and suspicious package are probed at two locations
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Braun Ambulances' EZ Door Forward

Helps to create a safer ambulance module.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

LMA MAD Nasal™

Needle-free intranasal drug delivery.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

VividTrac offered by Vivid Medical - EMS Today 2013

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


More Product Videos >