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#171427 - 04/16/09 09:33 AM Emergency operators were 'sarcastic'
tonyb Offline
For me life is my beach
Stranger

Registered: 03/27/04
Posts: 9
Loc: Australia, Cairns
I could not believe what I was reading today and that this can still happen, what the hell were they thinking mad, I expected a lot more from our emergency services than this pathetic effort, That PLB is looking better now. Read on....

The last people David Iredale spoke to before he died alone in the NSW Blue Mountains were emergency operators who were sarcastic and showed no empathy, a Sydney inquest has heard.

Emergency operators were 'sarcastic'


Edited by tonyb (04/16/09 02:24 PM)

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#171430 - 04/16/09 11:11 AM Re: Emergency operators were 'sarcastic' [Re: tonyb]
Tom_L Offline
Addict

Registered: 03/19/07
Posts: 690
If true, that's pretty horrible indeed.

On the other hand, emergency operators are people like everyone else. It's not exactly the most attractive or lucrative job. I assume it's not that pleasant either, especially if you're overburdened with phone calls, many of which turn out to be pranks or plain dumb.

It's amazing how often emergency responders get called for something that is supposedly a real emergency only to find out it's just a matter of a little old lady dropping her keys into the sewer or having her cat run up a tree. Things like that get old really fast and tie up resources so people in a genuine emergency might not get help in time.

I suppose when making an emergency call it's critically important to be able to speak clearly despite the adrenaline rush, as bad as the situation might be. I know it's hard, I've been in the same situation before. But you really have to calm down and let the emergency responders know what exactly is going on. Also, being able to give your location is a major factor. Asking for a street number when you're out in the bush is of course ridiculous. But on the other hand, you have to do better than just telling the operator you're stranded out in the middle of nowhere.

Anyway, I wouldn't make any hasty judgement in this case but it sounds like the unfortunate young man panicked. The bottom line is, anyone going out into the wilderness is for the most part responsible for their own safety. Even with a PLB and cellphone you can't trust them with your life. There's no guarantee you'll be able to call assistance if something goes wrong. If that's too much for you to handle then you really have no business going out on your own IMHO.

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#171433 - 04/16/09 11:49 AM Re: Emergency operators were 'sarcastic' [Re: Tom_L]
Andrew_S Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 01/09/09
Posts: 59
Originally Posted By: Tom_L
On the other hand, emergency operators are people like everyone else. It's not exactly the most attractive or lucrative job. I assume it's not that pleasant either, especially if you're overburdened with phone calls, many of which turn out to be pranks or plain dumb.


Which is part of the job. If you're working as a 911 operator and you can't handle the basic requirements of your job -- which includes dealing with people who are upset or panicky -- and you feel that your job is insufficiently attractive and lucrative, then you need to grow up, stop whining, and find another job.

If, on the other hand, you intend to continue collecting your paycheque, you need to suck it up and do the job you're paid to do.

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#171435 - 04/16/09 12:30 PM Re: Emergency operators were 'sarcastic' [Re: Andrew_S]
MedB Offline
Member

Registered: 10/08/05
Posts: 108
Normally I am pretty accepting of the human failings we all have, but in this case I have to agree with Andrew.

If you lack the skills and demeanor to be a good McDonald's cashier, someone gets the wrong hamburger.

If you lack the skills and demeanor to be a good 911 operator, someone dies.

There has to be a higher standard here.
_________________________
MedB

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#171437 - 04/16/09 01:15 PM Re: Emergency operators were 'sarcastic' [Re: MedB]
Mike_H Offline
Addict

Registered: 04/04/07
Posts: 612
Loc: SE PA
Originally Posted By: MedB
Normally I am pretty accepting of the human failings we all have, but in this case I have to agree with Andrew.

If you lack the skills and demeanor to be a good McDonald's cashier, someone gets the wrong hamburger.

If you lack the skills and demeanor to be a good 911 operator, someone dies.

There has to be a higher standard here.


I couldn't agree more. I respect everyone's job from the smallest to the largest. All I ask is that you perform your job as expected. If I order a hamburger from a fast food place, I expect to be greeted in a positive tone and to get my food in a reasonable amount of time.

If I call 911, I expect them to treat my call as an emergency. If it is later deemed to not be an emergency than so be it, but that shouldn't be determined by the operator.

Reminds me of a story when I was doing some acting in college. The director told me the story of being in a small, insignifact role in a play. He was something like spear carrier #3. He said that he was determined to be the best spear carrier #3 he could be. It is that attitude that stuck with me till today. If you do something, do it and try to do it to the best of your ability, otherwise, don't even bother.
_________________________
"I reject your reality and substitute my own..." - Adam Savage / Mythbusters

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#171440 - 04/16/09 03:40 PM Re: Emergency operators were 'sarcastic' [Re: ]
Tom_L Offline
Addict

Registered: 03/19/07
Posts: 690
You know, you're all right and I totally agree with what you're saying. But the point is, everybody makes mistakes, everybody has a bad day now and then. Even cops, firefighters, 911 operators.

A boy died but no amount of finger pointing will bring him back to life. If the emergency operators really did screw up, I suppose they'll lose their job, get sued, maybe worse. Still, what's done is done.

And at any rate, not knowing the full story I would be EXTREMELY hesitant before pointing a finger at anyone involved. Most emergency responders I've ever had to deal with turned out to be very dedicated and professional individuals.

As far as the particular incident, has it not caught anybody's attention that there are several odd things about the whole story? The boy got separated from his two buddies but when he called, he was already out of water and "unable to walk"? There is no explanation as to what his buddies did in the meantime nor what actually happened. Hard to say anything not knowing the details

It's easy to blame the emergency operators for not doing their job right. However, it could well have been a matter of inexperienced hikers biting off more than they could chew. It happens all the time. Personal responsibility is a rare trait these days. Once out in the bush, you can't just expect to be rescued by the push of a button.

PPPPPP.

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#171442 - 04/16/09 03:56 PM Re: Emergency operators were 'sarcastic' [Re: Tom_L]
Grouch Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 07/02/08
Posts: 395
Loc: Ohio
But to repeatedly ask for his address after being told that he was lost in the bush? In my book, that's inexcusable.

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#171443 - 04/16/09 04:05 PM Re: Emergency operators were 'sarcastic' [Re: Grouch]
Andrew_S Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 01/09/09
Posts: 59
The real issue here is not whether people make mistakes. It's whether the training and procedures were adequate, which apparently they were not.

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#171454 - 04/16/09 06:15 PM Re: Emergency operators were 'sarcastic' [Re: Andrew_S]
Tjin Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 04/08/02
Posts: 1791
Originally Posted By: Andrew_S
The real issue here is not whether people make mistakes. It's whether the training and procedures were adequate, which apparently they were not.


I have to agree with that. Also, I'm not familiar with the situation in the US, but in mine country the majority of the calls are pranks and misuse of the emergency number. So sifting out the real once can be challenging.
_________________________


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#171457 - 04/16/09 07:22 PM Re: Emergency operators were 'sarcastic' [Re: Andrew_S]
Arney Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 09/15/05
Posts: 2485
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: Andrew_S
The real issue here is not whether people make mistakes. It's whether the training and procedures were adequate, which apparently they were not.

This happened in 2006 and apparently they still have not worked out an acceptable protocol for their operators to use when callers are somewhere off the beaten path, even when this same call center--the same operators, apparently--faced a similar incident a year after this first kid died with another lost person.

No one has mentioned it, but three different operators took a number of calls from this poor kid and their own superintendent admits that they all "lacked empathy" to this kid's situation. So, it's not just one operator having a bad day on one call.

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