You might remember that just a few days ago here on SebRT.com I covered a series of spoof or non-emergency calls to 911 (999) emergency services. It is always bad when people abuse the services that are set up for when we need help the most but it is even worse when the emergency services don’t believe you or choose not to act when the emergency is actually serious and very real!
Well it happened. According to CNN last night at around 1:45AM the fire department was called about a BBQ restaurant that was burning down. The dispatcher was sure that it couldn’t possibly be a fire and quizzed the caller and finally decided that the call was not in regards to an emergency and the BBQ joint was just smoking ribs. 45 minutes later they got a call from another passer-by that the restaurant was on fire and this time after a quiz about how big the fire was and what colour the smoke was the dispatcher sent the fire department to tackle the now growing blaze. This was of course too late, the place is a total loss.
This is a serious problem as I saw in the interviews I watched on CNN. The Fire Department Asst. Chief Evans was less than happy to accept total responsibility that the dispatcher did in fact act too late and even said “there was PROBABLY a fire when the first caller rang in to the emergency services.” It seems to me that there are several at fault here. The dispatcher could have had his head screwed on properly and used his common sense At 1:45 in the morning they are not likely to be doing heavy duty cooking. The caller could have been a little bit more communicative and asked the dispatcher to send a police car out to assess the situation and they would have of course called out the fire department.
I offer similar advice to last week. Be smart when you call the emergency services. Be smart enough that if you think there is a fire or other emergency that you push the dispatcher if they don’t believe you. On the few occasions I have had need to call the emergency services I have never had them tell me that they don’t believe me. According to CNN the Fire Dept. was just up the road, If I was that close to the fire and knew the area, I would have gone and knocked on the door of the fire station. They are all at fault here but the dispatcher who didn’t send the resources out, should be fired.