Cleburne (Tex.) dispatcher Connie Taylor took a extraordinary 911 call from a railroad worker who had fallen beneath a train as was basically cut in half by the wheels. Truman Duncan, 36, somehow managed to pull out his cellular phone, dial 911 and describe in detail to Taylor what occurred. “I need 911, CareFlite. I think I’m cut in two. I need everyone to hurry up now,” he told the Taylor. Fire units and rail workers jacked up the rail car to free him, and he was taken to a hospital in serious but stable condition. Read the story and watch a video interview with Taylor here.
VoIP provider Vonage Inc. just released its unique V Phone, which is a combination USB thumb drive, headset and earphones, making up a completely portable VoIP “phone” that you can take and use anywhere there’s a computer. You’ll recall the issue of VoIP and 911 dialing: doing so doesn’t usually provide the normal ANI/ALI information to the PSAP. Well, surf Vonage’s Web page for the V Phone to see their warning on 911 dialing limitations.
A woman on Ontario province (Canada) was video-chatting with a friend in Australia, when the friend left the computer to go outside to use a ladder. Moments later the friend fell from the ladder, injuring himself. The woman dialed the city of Cornwall on 911, and dispatchers there used the Internet to obtain a telephone number for Melbourne emergency services. The Cornwall dispatchers made the call, and within 15 minutes the friend was being treated by EMTs, who assured the friend via the Webcam that he was in good hands. [It took me less than 12 seconds to find the phone number for Melbourne's Fire Brigade using a Google search.]
Fromer Nextel exec Morgan O’Brien faced off with a cellular executive at this week’s Wireless Communications Association conference, pushing his latest initiative: the FCC should allocated another 30 MHz of spectrum to public safety in the 700 MHz band. O’Brien has formally proposed the plan to the FCC under a program he cleverly calls Cyren Call, which on its face seems to provide public safety with more spectrum for emergency communications. However, industry analysts are looking for the “back door” in the plan that might benefit telecom providers. Read the story here.
A long story in the San Bernardino (Calif.) “Sun” newspaper describes how county employees resigned, and then became contract employees to work on the county’s huge 800 MHz rebanding project with much higher pay rates. A secretary was paid $90 an hour and a county executive $208 an hour under their contracts, for example. Now county officials have fired the contract employees and recovered $1.1 million from Nextel, and say there are still questions about how the workers’ time was logged and billed. Read the full store here.
Two District 7 (NJ) dispatchers have resigned in the wake of an allegation that they were both asleep when a Woodbridge police dispatcher attempted to call them for an EMS incident at 3:47 a.m. last May. Fire officials said they had given Stephen Weber and Charles Westcott the option of either resigning or facing charges. The victim had been dead for several hours, officials said, so the delay wasn’t a factor in his death. Read the full story here.
Yesterday President Bush signed an Executive Order to establish, “an effective, reliable, integrated, flexible, and comprehensive system to alert and warn the American people in situations of war, terrorist attack, natural disaster, or other hazards.” The order directs the Department of Homeland Security to inventory and asses the current systems, establish common protocols, and oversee training and testing of such a system. Since Congress controls the federal budget, the order comes without any funding. Read about the order here.
A logging recorder technician accidentally deleted 11 months of recordings made during 911 calls and radio transmissions at the Massachusetts State Police headquarters in Framingham. Officials said the tech from Dictronics Inc. was upgrading equipment under a contract with Verizon Communications Inc., and erased perhaps 1 million files of 911 calls, an 500,000 files of radio communications. The situation could put into jeopardy criminal cases that depend upon the recordings for evidence, although officials said they weren’t immediately aware of any such incidents. Verizon officials said they would investigate disk recovery procedures, although they didn’t mention what type of back-ups (to DVD, tapes, etc.) are normally made of the files.
An 11 year-old New Port Richey (Fla.) girl was home alone when a burglar broke in, but she dialed 911 and stayed on the line as deputies responded to arrest the suspect. The unnamed dispatcher expertly kept the girl calm, and updated her as the deputies made the arrest. ““You did so good… I got the chills. There are three deputies out there,” she told the girl. Read the story and transcript here.
The debate between the city of Bradenton (Fla.) and Manatee County is the subject of an editorial in the Herald newspaper, which points out the issues and politics involved. “Bradenton’s position on this issue is just one more manifestation of an age-old debate over small vs. big government,” the editorial says. The newspaper says the issue should be more efficient emergency communications, and concludes, “This is a turf fight that should not take place.” Read the entire editorial here.
An Arizona woman who was kidnapped and stuffed into her car’s trunk made her own escape, but managed to talk to a California Highway Patrol dispatcher along the way. The suspects drove 7 hours with her unconscious in the back seat, and then put her in the trunk when she awoke. The car finally ran out of gas, the suspects tossed her her car keys and cellular phone, and left her in the trunk. She called home, where police had just arrived to take a missing person report. The officer had her hang up and dial 911, reaching CHP dispatcher Jayme Davison, who along with colleagues tried to trace the call. Davidson gave the woman suggestions on escaping the trunk, and found an ice pick to use as a tool. Read the store, see the photos here.
A bolt of lightning struck a group of Ohio public safety personnel who had stopped for a break while escorting Special Olympians along Route 33 north of Logan on a torch run, including Ohio University Safety Department dispatcher Cathy Hart and eight others. Most seriously injured was OU Off. Nathan Van Oort, who recently returned from National Guard duty in Iraq. Officials believe the lightning struck a pavillion where the public safety personnel and runners had stopped, and then lept across to Van Oort. Rescuers performed CPR on him and took him to a hospital. The others were also transported, and were reported less-seriously injured.
Indianapolis (Ind.) police have released logging tapes of 911 calls made by neighbors reporting gunfire at a nearby home on June 1st. Seven members of a family were shot to death, apparently during a robbery attempt. You can listen to or download the six calls that police releaesed by surfing here.
PC World Magazine has posted an on-line story giving an profile and update on the status of VoIP/E911. The story claims that, “Many Net phone companies appear not to be abiding by the FCC rules, by continuing to market and sell service without E911 support. And finding Net phone companies that offer FCC-compliant E911 service can be more difficult than cracking the Da Vinci code.” Read the story here.
The District of Columbia’s Office of Inspector General has issued an 82-page report on the handling of an EMS incident last January that resulted in the death of a newspaper reporter after a street mugging. David Rosenbaum, 63, died from head injuries, but his case raised all sorts of questions about how the incident was handled by the dispatcher, EMS crews and hospital. Now the OIG exonerates the dispatcher, saying simply, “The call taker and dispatchers who handled the
911 call carried out their duties appropriately.” However, the OIG notes that some call-handling procedures were changed as a result of the incident. Download (pdf. 4.4 Mb) the entire OIG report here, and read how the story was pursued by a rival newspaper here.