If there’s one thing I intensely dislike about WANE-15 and their reporting, it’s going for all the sensational drama that can be wrought out of a situation. Â Pointing out they were the first on the scene of this accident, or that shooting or whatever as if it’s something to be proud of … who cares who was first? Â Do the victims care who was first on the scene? Â Or my other personal favorite they seem to frequently indulge in, twisting or omitting the facts to sensationalize something. Â
911 dispatch to fatalÂ fire investigated
Fatal fire incorrectly dispatched
[…] During the call, a Fort Wayne dispatcher sent fire crews to the wrong address.
The address discrepancy centered around whether the fire was at a home on East Jefferson, or West Jefferson. The woman making the call is not exactly sure during the call, but the dispatcher sends crews out to West Jefferson, and does not ask for a cross street until five minutes and 24 seconds into the call. It’s only after six minutes on the phone that the correct address is established. That is something the director of 911 communications says concerns her.
The call. Â Ok, so what am I missing? Â I listened to the same exact call, the woman making the call doesn’t sound confused or alarmed until the 5:24 mark when she’s trying to establish whether the fire department is on scene or not. Â In fact, when the dispatcher does try to confirm anything, the caller almost sounds annoyed that the dispatcher has to ask. Â It only becomes apparent at that 5:24 mark that something isn’t right. Â Hindsight is 20/20 and that’s definitely proven here.
What’s more disturbing about this than anything else, to me at least, is the fact that it isn’t until 3:56 that the dispatcher states another call has come in and they now have an exact address. Â Almost 4 minutes of this going on before anyone else thought to pick up the phone? Â I didn’t hear the caller telling anyone else not to bother calling cause she had it covered. Â There’s a lesson to be learned here for all of us – if something is going on and you don’t hear the sirens, perhaps it’s time to call 9-1-1. Â If they know about it, they’ll tell you – otherwise, they may not know or be confused about what’s going on. Â Whichever is the case, it doesn’t hurt to call and make sure they know what’s going on.
A 9-1-1 dispatcher can only be as accurate as the information provided to them. Â The way this article was written, it really lays the blame at the feet of the dispatcher – which is wrong. Â Could the dispatcher have done a better job by asking different questions? Â Perhaps, but again, the caller didn’t sound all that confused to me.
The article, as written on their website, ends with this gem:
“This should have never happened,” said the caller, Heather Kennedy during a phone interview.
Mind you, this is abruptly thrown out at the reader from nowhere, almost as an after-thought, or something to inflame the your emotions. Â The paragraphs before this talk about percentage of errors in regard to calls handled and some of the other 9-1-1 dispatch tools, like GPS and Enhanced 9-1-1. Â Mentioning these other tools begged the question, which obviously wasn’t asked, of whether or not these were utilized in this instance and if they helped or would have helped if they weren’t used. Â IF procedure required the dispatcher to use these tools to verify the caller’s location, and the dispatcher didn’t use it, that’s the story. Â But this is not explored.
And what exactly is it that should never have happened? Â Giving the wrong information, or the dispatcher not being a mind reader? Â Or the tragic loss of life? Â Or was this a quote lifted out of context from the conversation to play up the story? Â My bottom dollar bet is the latter.
Just enough of the facts to make for one sensational story rather than an accurate reporting of what happened and why.