Fact or nothing like it…

You can never be sure about the validity of a caller’s information when they dial 911. There are many factors that contribute to what they’re saying that you may not be aware of. Whether they’re hysterical and think the end of their world has arrived, or they’re way to drunk to make any logical sense of a situation what is being said may not be true. And here is an example:

  • Dispatcher: 911 Where is your emergency?
  • Caller: I’m at the corner of Main St and Harrison Rd, there is lots of smoke coming out of this house I think it’s on fire.
  • Dispatcher: What color is the smoke?
  • Caller: It’s a lot of white smoke, I swear something must be on fire. The smoke is coming into the car. *Caller starts choking.*
  • Fire Control: Attention Engine 3, Truck 1 respond for a reported structure fire Main St and Harrison RD caller reporting large amounts of white smoke coming from the residence.

The units call responding, a Chief also calls responding no further calls were taken on this incident though it’s a residential area and about 3am. The Chief arrived first.

  • Chief: Car 4 to Central
  • Fire: Central’s on Car 4
  • Chief: Car 4 will be on scene, we have a motor vehicle accident one subject entrapped in the vehicle. Police and EMS to my scene. As for the house normal smoke appears to be showing from a chimney I’ll investigate further.

Police already enroute to the scene arrived and began to run the data on the vehicle the subject who was in the process of being extricated from the vehicle down in embankment and resting against a tree was revoked from multiple DWIs. There was a heavy smell of alcohol from the subject operating, and no diabetic emergency was apparent upon ALS assessment of the patient. The subject was transported BLS to the local ER for evaluation

Remember the information has to be taken from the callers at face value. We do not have crystal balls and cannot take the chance that there is or is not a true emergency at a scene. The information is only as good as what the callers give the call taker.

1 Comment

  • You mean you expect us to not go by the time honored tradition of blaming dispatch for every mistake? You expect too much! :p 
    Seriously though, I’ve been on calls where it’s just too bizarre to even begin to have an accurate dispatch info for, and when dispatch is updated they sound like they think WE’RE crazy…

    Ya know, they might not be that far from the truth.

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