05/21/12 — 911 questions necessary, EMS says

View Archive

911 questions necessary, EMS says

By Steve Herring
Published in News on May 21, 2012 1:46 PM

Wayne County 911 emergency dispatchers want people to know they are not being "nosey" when they question callers, they just want to be able to connect the right emergency service to the right person.

The questions are necessary to mount a more effective response, Fire Marshal Bryan Taylor said. The questions are asked in order to better help the person in need and in a more timely manner, he said.

Over the past couple of months, Taylor said he has listened to calls in which people have complained about the questions they were asked when they dialed 911.

"There is a list of questions that we have," he said. "Let's say you call in a traffic accident. That is going to dictate a list of questions to ask the caller. How many vehicles are involved? Is it on (U.S.) 117? Is it in the northbound or southbound lane? Is anybody hurt? Has the car turned over?

"It dictates different things so we can gather as much information as we can which helps the agencies that are responding to be better informed as to what is going on."

That applies not only to traffic accidents, but to calls that law enforcement responds to as well, he said.

For example, somebody might see what they call in as a panhandler, but questioning may reveal that it is actually a robbery, he said.

He gave an example of a recent emergency call.

"They called in, of course their voice was real low so it was hard to understand what they were saying," he said. "As the telecommunicator started asking questions, trying to figure out what was going on, the guy got agitated and said don't worry about, it just send somebody."

The telecommunicator attempted to call the person back, but they would not answer.

"That happens a lot, even on EMS calls," he said. "People will call and say, 'I need an ambulance.' Well, what do you need an ambulance for? They have a list of questions they go through. If you say somebody has chest pains they are going to ask you 'Have they had these before? Is he on any type of medication?'

"It is certain things just to inform responders as they are going out so that will know what they are going into. The same with law enforcement going into domestics. They have a list of questions to go through."