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Resource ID: #27028
Subject:Emergency Medical Services
Source:WSPA (Spartanburg, S.C.)
The breaking news was a mobile home fire on a bitterly cold night. A WSPA photographer captured the aftermath, wrecked home, shivering children, flashing lights on the trucks. The people there, the neighbors mostly, kept asking the same question, “Why did it take so long for firefighters to show up?” It was easy to check and see just how long it took those first responders to arrive and the answer didn't make sense. WSPA discovered the 911 calls from the fire gave all the correct information including the right address and a full description of the emergency. 911 dispatchers heard that information clearly and repeated it back exactly. Then, they sent the wrong stations to the wrong address in a different city. WSPA used dispatch logs, 911 recordings and interviews to expose a problem with the automated dispatch software that was happening in agencies across the area. With lives at stake, a simple oversight was causing dangerous delays. As a result of WSPA's report, the 911 agency promised sweeping changes. The follow-up reports hold them accountable for that effort.