IROQUOIS CO. (ECWd) -
What would you do if you called 911 and ask for the Fire Department for a Hazardous Material situation and found out they mocked your occupation level, experience, and failed to dispatch the very agency you asked for on the initial call?
This is the first of several exposures to come as it relates to County Emergency Telephone System Boards (ETSB), their directors, and the dispatchers on the front line as the key communication point to the public in need of emergency assistance.
Dispatchers use a computer-aided dispatch system, receive emergency calls from the public requesting police, fire, medical or other emergency services. They "should" determine the nature and location of the emergency; determine priorities, and dispatch police, fire ambulance or other emergency units as necessary and in accordance with established procedures.
Clearly when a call comes in and the caller specifically requests the Fire Department for a chemical release they should dispatch the closest Fire Department at a minimum.
The dispatcher is not there to make a decision as to how bad the leak is or if the requested agencies are really needed. They are there to dispatch the closest agency requested, and in this particular case they failed miserably and should be held accountable.
The opening question is exactly what happen in Iroquois County a few years ago and we have obtained a copy of all those communications for all to hear and judge for themselves.
Having worked in Emergency Services for 25+ years to include currently holding the position as Fire Chief and EMT responding to emergency calls regularly, I was floored when I listen to this particular call. The person who took this 911 call would be fired in most parts of the country for this kind of a failure. The Director of ETSB should be relieved from her post for failing to establish sound protocols for the dispatchers to utilize for 911 calls. That failure put lives at risk!
Key points to know and listen for:
- The caller, although a part time employee at the time of the call was actually the plant manager for 30 years and had recently retired and was filling in part time to help out. (30+ years of experience!)
- Dispatcher DID NOT call the Fire Department as requested
- Dispatcher was told the plant was SOUTH of Cisna Park yet he reports later in the call it was NORTH of Cisna Park.
- Dispatcher mocks the caller with implications that since he is a part time employee he is stupid.
- Dispatcher brags about his knowledge of this type of chemical release and downplayed the risk involved.
- The tank size was reported to us as a 30,000 gallon Anhydrous Ammonia tank.
Over a MILE of residents were evacuated because of this chemical release!
From our understanding, with divine intervention, no one was seriously injured in this chemical spill that was downplayed by the dispatcher who failed to provide the very emergency agency requested until much later in the call when it became clear he screwed up! Note at the end of this communication it appears he knows there is a problem with his actions!
What was ever done to these people who failed the public? If you know who the dispatcher was and what actions were taken please let us know for further reporting!