State Audit Sought for Dispatch Center that Put Disabled Woman on Hold - @ JEMS.com


State Audit Sought for Dispatch Center that Put Disabled Woman on Hold


 
 

Scott Kraus | | Friday, February 22, 2008


ALLENTOWN, Pa. -- In the aftermath of its dispatchers' mishandling of a Jan. 29 distress call from a disabled woman who died in a Doylestown house fire, Bucks County (Pa.) will ask the state Emergency Management Agency to audit its 911 center.

"That will be a universal review from an outside independent agency," county Commissioner Chairman James Cawley said after the commissioners meeting Wednesday.

Brenda Orr, 53, who had multiple sclerosis, died when her bed caught fire. The blaze eventually gutted her house. Fire officials suspect the fire was caused by a cigarette.

Orr called 911 at 10:31 a.m. to get help, but her call was allowed to ring six times before it was picked up, then put on hold.

Twenty-six seconds passed before a second dispatcher took over the call, asking Orr for her address, asking her to leave the house and then, after two minutes and nine seconds had elapsed, dispatching fire and rescue services.

The county completed its own report on the call last week, revealing 10 dispatchers were unoccupied, but none answered Orr's call, which was eventually answered "out of frustration" by a dispatcher who was on an ambulance call.

The report determined Orr's call should never have been allowed to ring six times or be put on hold.

The county disciplined 11 dispatchers and four supervisors for their role in botching the call, and vowed to implement policies and procedures to prevent similar problems.

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union has filed a grievance on behalf of the disciplined dispatchers.

Newtown resident Greg Garber told Cawley at the commissioners meeting that the 10 dispatchers' failure to answer the call didn't make sense, and wondered why they all acted the same way.

Cawley said Wednesday the county continues to look into exactly what happened and its investigation into the events of Jan. 29 is ongoing.

"We still are looking at every detail we possibly can..." Cawley said.

In the letter to Robert Wentzel, PEMA's director of 911 programs, Cawley said he wants the agency to evaluate the county's internal quality assurance efforts.

The time elapsed between Orr's call and the fire department being dispatched was less than the average for residential fire calls in January, county officials have said.

County fire officials have determined the delay in answering Orr's call probably did not contribute to her death because the fire was well advanced by the time she called 911.

Wentzel could not be reached for comment Wednesday.


Connect: Have a thought or feedback about this? Add your comment now
Related Topics: Communications and Dispatch, Legal and Ethical

What's Your Take? Comment Now ...

Buyer's Guide Featured Companies

Featured Careers & Jobs in EMS

FEBRUARY 25-28, 2015

Baltimore Convention Center
Baltimore, Maryland USA
THE SHOW IS OPEN!

WEATHER REPORT


 

 

 

 

Get JEMS in Your Inbox

 

Fire EMS Blogs


Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts

 

EMS Airway Clinic

Innovation & Advancement

This is the seventh year of the EMS 10 Innovators in EMS program, jointly sponsored by Physio-Control and JEMS.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

Wesleyan Students Hospitalized for Overdose

11 students transported to local hospitals.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Denver Medic's Family Says Job Stress Contributed to Suicide

Veteran of over 25 years took her own life after a call.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Denver First Responders Join to Remember Paramedic

Veteran medic took her own life after fatal accident.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Rigs Going in Service from EMS Today 2015

Snap shots of some of the vehicles at EMS Today that will be on the streets soon
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Florida Hospital Fire

Fire halts construction project at Tampa cancer center.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Field Bridge Xpress ePCR on iPad, Android, Kindle Fire

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


Multimedia Thumb

LMA MAD Nasal™

Needle-free intranasal drug delivery.
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

Braun Ambulances' EZ Door Forward

Helps to create a safer ambulance module.
Watch It >


More Product Videos >