Seven former 9-1-1 dispatchers in Lehigh County, Pa., have sued the county in federal court, saying that some of their colleagues refused to help Spanish-speaking callers, which contributed to the death of a man and his 14-year-old nephew in a house fire. The county has denied the allegations. The plaintiffs also contend in the suit that their resignations and terminations were forced in retaliation for reporting alleged employee misconduct.
Smartphones have made it harder for children to learn how to call 9-1-1, so parents should have them practice, according to Candace Ochalik, a 9-1-1 supervisor in Virginia Beach, Va. Ochalik explains the process on Apple and Android phones and advises teaching children to tell dispatchers their location, their parents' names and the nature of the emergency.
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Montana resident Peter Scherfig got lifesaving help from emergency medical dispatchers twice last year: first when he was mauled by a grizzly bear in May and again when he had a heart attack in August. A Gallatin County dispatcher gave first aid instructions to a bystander in the first incident, while Big Sky dispatcher Susan Walker gave CPR instructions in the second.
Ramsey County, Minn., is considering a new approach for 9-1-1 calls in which dispatchers would send out social workers, mental health professionals and other civilians alongside or in place of police officers on crisis calls. Social workers could also work alongside dispatchers, but "[w]e will not send a social worker to a bank robbery," Deputy County Manager Scott Williams says.
Public safety officials in New Jersey's Bergen and Passaic counties say that 911eye, text-to-9-1-1 and RapidSOS have helped improve safety, location information and response times in recent years. "[W]e're only scratching the surface of what technology can do for us," says Frank DelVecchio, director of the Bergen County Public Safety Operations Center.
AT&T's FirstNet had its highest number of public safety adoptions in the third quarter and now serves over 18,500 agencies with over 2.8 million connections, officials said. "We're now addressing new segments that we were not addressing earlier, and that's helping us drive some of our customer momentum," AT&T Communications CEO Jeff McElfresh said.
NENA is seeking qualified candidates to manage interoperability programs promulgated under the auspices of NENA as well as the NG9-1-1 Interoperability Oversight Commission (NIOC). Please visit this link for more details.