An Ohio legislator has introduced a bill to require minimum training for public safety dispatchers, in the wake of a fatal drowning incident that raised questions about whether the handling dispatcher gave the victim proper survival instructions. Currently the state has no standards or funding for dispatcher training. House Bill 223 would require the state to establish a curriculum of 40 to 60 hours based on standards from Association of Public Safety Communications Officials (APCO), and to create a state emergency dispatcher training fund to pay for individual dispatchers to attend. The requirement would become effective within one year of the bill”s passage. The bill was sparked by the fatal drowning of a motorist last February. Lisa Roswell’s car was swept off a highway and spoke to a Norwalk police dispatcher. However, the agency’s computer-aided dispatch (CAD) protocol system for handling incidents was an older version that did not include “submerged vehicle” instructions. The dispatcher told Roswell to remain in the car, which is currently not generally-accepted advice. Norwalk police chief Dave Light has defended the dispatcher, saying it’s not clear Roswell would have survived had she escaped the car. Download (pdf) a copy of HB 223 as introduced here., and read more about the bill here.E-mail this story
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