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An Oklahoma City dispatcher shows us how the job should be done

Multi-tasking call-taker/dispatcher wakes up elderly disabled woman to get her out of burning home

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(Thanks to reader Jeff Rogers for sending this great story to STATter911.)

We sure need this after listening to the tragic and botched 911 call in Polk County, Florida where an elderly, disabled woman was trapped in her burning home. The video (above) was posted by the Oklahoma City Fire Department on February 5 and shows–despite my pessimism about too many 911 centers that rely mostly on scripts and not critical thinking–that there are many who still know how to do the job. One of them is Corporal Lorri Davis.

At 4:30 a.m. on February 3, Corporal Davis took a call from a woman who woke up to see her neighbor’s house on fire. When Corporal Davis learned the house was occupied by an elderly disabled woman who lives alone, she processed the call immediately and at the same time asked for the neighbor’s phone number. Corporal Davis then called that number but got no answer. She called again while also working the radio keeping the responding firefighters informed. On the second call the woman woke up and answered the phone. Corporal Davis calmly informed her the house was on fire. She helped guide the woman toward firefighters who were busting down the front door. They got her to safety.

This is what 911 is supposed to do. Lorri Davis listened carefully to what the caller told her, sized up the situation and used her skills to save a life. It’s the opposite of the Polk County call where you hear a call taker mostly just typing and reading a script, with no real processing of what the trapped woman, Loretta Pickard, was saying.

This save in Oklahoma City can only happen when you have well trained people. People who have the knowledge and ability to think beyond what’s on their computer screen and are supported by management to use those skills.

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