Low Standards at 911 Centers, and Other Problems

911 call centers tell call takers to “follow the script, or else!” And they don’t have infinite scripts. Florida report confirms how low we set 911 center standards.

When you don’t teach call-takers to do more than read a script, people die

The call center rep was following the script, but because of her disability, she couldn’t do exactly what was on the script, so she died.

[International Academics of Emergency Dispatch] believes one of the key problems is that Lorretta Pickard, because of her disability that required the use of a walker, couldn’t follow “the Trapped in Structure Fire instructions”. That Pickard failed to follow those instructions is an absolute fact. But what IAED’s investigation fails to consider is the possibility that relying mostly, if not solely, on its Trapped in Fire Instructions script was the real failure.

She couldn’t walk and stay on the phone. And they want you to stay on the phone. So she was trapped in a burning house, and didn’t even try to get out.

The moral of the story is, don’t let the people at 911 do your thinking for you, because they are prevented from thinking by policy.