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Thread: When 911 is too slow

  1. #1
    SheLikesKitties's Avatar
    SheLikesKitties is offline OW/YM 21YR GAP
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    When 911 is too slow

    Today my son and I were eating at a restaurant near a beach in the countryside. Then we heard a big commotion, my son is used to hear this commotion when I find a cockroach, but this time the commotion was too big to be a simple roach or mouse. One of the waitresses was unconscious in the bathroom, breathing in gasps. Her daughter was there in her school uniform, as well as her sister, and both started yelling for someone to call an ambulance.

    I called 911, and they started asking me questions... I do not know how things are in the US but here they ask you what, where, who are you, your personal ID number, what the person is suffering (I had no clue, she was just passed out, hardly breathing), saying she is uncouscious is not good enough they kept asking about how, what, and who. The daughter and sister were wailing histerically at this point, and not helping with the info at all. My son finally decided to put the woman in our car and drive her to the nearest hospital, which was only like 10 minutes away. I know some CPR, so we made sure her airway was open. Her daughter and sister rode with us, my car is small, so we looked like a clown car.

    So we left her in the emergency room, still breathing, but already in good hands, with the daughter and sister, we did not stay because we had a long ride to Panama City ahead of us. I hope she is OK. I plan to call the restaurant tonight and inquire about her.

    How is the 911 service in the US, do they ask you so many questions before sending help?
    You know it's love when the pain of being apart is greater than the pain of being together.

  2. #2
    brinparker's Avatar
    brinparker is offline Member
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    I have had to call twice. Last time was last year when my friend had a grand mal seizure and went unconscious. They do ask questions. They ask what the emergency is then the address so that while talking to you, emergency workers can be on their way. They usually remain on the phone with you until help has arrived.

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    SheLikesKitties's Avatar
    SheLikesKitties is offline OW/YM 21YR GAP
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    I guess than when you are nervous every question seems to take forever. From my window I saw a terrible car crash once, and I knew the situation was serious so I called 911. I was also exasperated by the number of questions. A lot of questions about the identity of the caller too.
    You know it's love when the pain of being apart is greater than the pain of being together.

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    pinkunicorn's Avatar
    pinkunicorn is offline Senior Member
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    It does seem like a lot, but these operators need to know what kind of help to send (police, fire, ambulance), and they need to be able to tell their first responders what to expect. It seems so simple to say "Someone is unconscious at 123 Sesame Street. Send an ambulance." Well, treating an unconscious person who is in a diabetic coma is very different than treating a person who is unconscious because they were beaten over the head by a baseball bat. Is the situation safe for the EMT's? Does the police need to be involved?

    Here in the US, they also want to know the details of the caller--name and phone number--in case the line gets disconnected they know who to call back.
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    teddikat's Avatar
    teddikat is offline Senior Member
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    I am a 911 operator/police fire and ems dispatcher.

    Those questions that the 911 operator was asking were important to the resolution of the call. The answers about the medical situation were being given to paramedics who were responding to the call so that they would know what they were going to be doing when they got there.

    When asked for the location of the incident and what you are calling for-police/fire/ems - the answers are typed into a computer that is seen by the actual dispatcher. While the call taker is asking questions, the dispatcher is talking to the responding units giving them pertinent info. You may think nothing is being done, but there is a lot going on - 911 is not slow, you have no way of knowing where the responders are coming from or what they are doing to prepare for the call. What you see on tv is NOT the way it works. IRL the calls are not scripted and each call is different.

    Taking a seriousy ill person ,that you do not know, in the car is dangerous. If you get in an accident enroute that person could die.
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  6. #6
    MissMuffins's Avatar
    MissMuffins is offline Senior Member
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    In my experience, it depends on where you live and what you're calling about.

    I've called 9-1-1, and the police non-emergency line, and 0-0-0 (the Australian emergency line) numerous occasions, for a variety of reasons: to report situations of domestic violence, to lodge noise complaints, to report medical emergencies, to report suspicious activity in my neighbors' homes while my neighbors were away, to report unsafe drivers (possibly intoxicated, menacing driving, speeding in school crossings, delay of 3 or more vehicles*...)

    Yes, it seems as though the operators ask an inordinate number of questions. When I lived in a really crappy part of town, they asked me A LOT of questions and took their time in responding. Now that I live in a better part of town, they ask fewer questions and arrive sooner. When I call from my desk at work (and my employer's name shows in the caller ID) the operators interact differently with me. I wouldn't say they have ever been unprofessional, but they're definitely more professional when I call from work.

    However, as pinkunicorn mentions: the majority of the information they request is to ascertain what kind of situation they need to respond to and what number of personnel will be required.

    The operators ask about the caller in case they need to follow up...which could be to get more information, to make sure the caller is okay, to let the caller know how the situation worked out, or to file charges against people who make prank/nuisance calls to the police dept. Yeah, that's a thing.

    I'm happy to hear the lady seemed to be okay, and it's fortunate that you were able to take her daughters to the hospital. How terrifying for them, and how kind of you to render first aid and provide them a reassuring presence during that time of crisis.

    MM

    *Delay of 3 or more vehicles may sound petty, but locally it's a big problem. The nearest Interstate with 2-4 or more lanes in each direction is 100+ miles from here. For the most part, we have 2 lane highways (one lane, each direction). Drivers of RVs, farm implements, livestock transport, heavy equipment, etc. who won't yield and delay traffic create situations which cause people to become frustrated and do unsafe things in order to get around the vehicle(s) causing the delays. They pass in no passing lanes, exceed the speed limit, don't leave enough room for oncoming traffic...in all, it's a situation which leads to several fatal accidents each year. They happen so often, they don't make the paper unless they're particularly gruesome.
    "Our past is a story existing only in our minds. Look, analyze, understand, and forgive. Then, as quickly as possible, chuck it." ~ Marianne Williamson

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