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Pennsylvania County Recognizes Efforts of 2 Emergency Dispatchers

FRANKLIN COUNTY, Pa. -- Two Franklin County 911 dispatchers recently helped people through difficult situations.

Cameron Knotts helped save a man who accidentally shot himself in the leg on Aug. 4 while trying to commit suicide.

Julianne Schrecengost helped a family delivery a baby on Aug. 14 before the ambulance arrived.

"You don't normally get calls that end well," Schrecengost said. "It was a happy call."

Franklin County Commissioners on Tuesday recognized the dispatchers for their efforts. Commissioner David Keller said he was impressed with the pride and professionalism in the Department of Emergency Services.

Knotts, a dispatcher for six years, said he was "kind of shocked" to receive a shooting call around 5 a.m.

"That doesn't happen in the morning," Knotts said. "He was trying to end his life with a gunshot to the head."

In the process of aiming the rifle, the 17-year-old shot himself in the thigh, Knotts said. The boy called 911 when "he realized he had a problem."

"A high-powered hunting rifle does a lot of damage," Knotts said.

The caller was bleeding profusely, according to Dave Donohue, director of the Franklin County Department of Emergency Services. Knotts stayed on the phone with him for 12 minutes, located him in the woods near Renfrew Park in the Waynesboro area and made sure the weapon was out of reach before first responders arrived.

"In the first 30 seconds I was dealing with his initial intent, and then I was focusing on what his problem is," Knotts. "He was in pain and losing a lot of blood. He wouldn't be able to think about what he had been intending to do in the first place."

Knotts directed the boy to apply pressure, but the damage was too great. Knotts, an emergency medical technician, then asked if he had a belt to pull around his leg. He didn't. Shoelaces? He didn't. His shirt? Police arrived.

"I did what I had to do and he's alive today," Knotts said.

Schrecengost delivered her first baby over the telephone. She talked a woman's eldest son through the delivery of his mother's baby in the Shippensburg area.

"He was prepared, prepared as much as he could be," Schrecengost said.

She determined that the birth was imminent. They followed the scripted Emergency Medical Dispatch protocol, which worked. The baby was born 13 minutes after Schrecengost answered the 8:26 a.m. call.

"The woman had had several children before," Donohue said. "Her labor was short. They were ready to cut the cord when the ambulance crew pulled up. The ambulance had two patients instead of one."

Knotts said people sometimes stop by a fire hall to tell EMTs the fate of a person they helped on an emergency response.

"People usually don't come in the 911 center," he said. "You hear by the newspaper or by word of mouth how the guy is doing."



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