County on delay to York fire: It was ...

County on delay to York fire: It was a communication breakdown

There are 61 comments on the The York Daily Record story from May 12, 2011, titled County on delay to York fire: It was a communication breakdown. In it, The York Daily Record reports that:

A miscommunication last month between a fire victim and a York County 911 dispatcher-trainee and supervisor led to a several-minute delay in getting firefighters to the correct location in York, according to the city's fire chief.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at The York Daily Record.

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john doe 000069

York, PA

#1 May 12, 2011
The stupid union worker needs to get the wax out of their ears. Minutes count with a fire and those jerks allowed a rookie to handle the call.
Yea I Do

York, PA

#2 May 12, 2011
john doe 000069 wrote:
The stupid union worker needs to get the wax out of their ears. Minutes count with a fire and those jerks allowed a rookie to handle the call.
Sure hope this stupid rookie, minute counting, wax eared, union, jerk is on call when your trailer catches fire and YOU cannot escape, but your family and pets were away for the day!

Since: Feb 08

Location hidden

#3 May 12, 2011
john doe 000069 wrote:
The stupid union worker needs to get the wax out of their ears. Minutes count with a fire and those jerks allowed a rookie to handle the call.
Here are two quotes for you to try and understand.

"Lindquist said the dispatcher heard Diaz say she was in the 600 block of Water Street."

"The dispatcher asked the woman if she was in Wrightsville; she said yes," he said. "The woman confirmed it was Water Street. That was the address that was used."

The dispatcher misunderstood what the caller said was here address was the one mistake the dispatcher made.

The caller when asked if she was in Wrighsville said yes. Mistake on the callers part.

So there are two mistakes that lead to the delay in dispatching the correct fire department. The blame is on both the caller and dispatcher. Goes to show that both the caller and dispatcher need to learn to listen and communicate better.

United States

#5 May 12, 2011
Diaz was the one that left unattended food cooking on the stove so if she did not do that then there would be no need to call 911
Former dispatcher

York, PA

#6 May 12, 2011
I feel for the dispatcher. People don't realize how difficult the job can be. With the nearest location on an old cell phone coming from a cell tower that could be miles away, and a person who is in "the heat of the moment" giving and CONFIRMING the wrong location, there is not much to be done. Add into the mix background noise, uncooperative callers, bad technology, language barriers, and panic, and then toss into the mix the THOUSANDS of calls made every month to 911. It is testament to YCDES that these events are the EXCEPTION and not norm.

And John Doe, I have to wonder if all you do is sit on your computer and look for something to whine about. Get a life good sir, Get a life.
city girl

York, PA

#7 May 12, 2011
Those that think they know it all. have you ever tried to understand the English of a Spanish person. OMG!!!! Diaz probably didnt even know she lived on Wallace st. Let alone in York! She should have to pay for all the damages!
Truth Patrol

York, PA

#8 May 13, 2011
Well the story in the Sunday News was different. It said the caller said Wallace St in York city. This article doesn't mention that. So who knows? I know how it is when you call 911. It's 20 questions, many that are irrelevant because you are reporting an emergency and they start asking you all kinds of details which you do not know. You see a house on fire. You call 911. All you know is the house is on fire yet you get asked all kinds of questions repeatedly. I can understand how someone who is excited and scared could give wrong answers to these questions because they are looking at a fire and need help now.

York, PA

#9 May 13, 2011
I thought when you call 911 they know where you are calling from? Don't we may a monthly fee on our telephone bill for this?
Circle the wagons

York, PA

#10 May 13, 2011
We have heard the trainee dispatcher's side of the story. What I want to know is what the supervisor thought they heard and if different what did they do to correct the miscommunication? Was the supervisor even with the trainee?
Interesting that 911 is quick to point out when it is the callers fault for equipment sent to the wrong place. How many times has 911 miscommunicated information to responders? I have a tape where the dispatcher sent equipment to the wrong address. When the responders asked for confirmation the same address was given again with that "how dare you question me" tone of voice. That is when they informed 911 that the street given did not have that high a block number. After that 911 finally gave them to the correct address.
Joseph W Smith Jr

York, PA

#11 May 13, 2011
As a former recent "Trainee" of the York County 911 program I will ATTEST that the training program at the York County 911 center needs to be looked into.

I can factually tell you that I have seen with my own eyes and ears that 'trainee's' are left unattended while their supervisors/trainers walk away and chit chat with coworkers. I don't take anything that the Executive staff of YCDES 911 state with any sort of reassurance.

There are MAJOR problems at the YCDES and no one from the DIRECTOR JULIO MENDEZ down to the supervisors want to admit that there is anything wrong!!!!! And they have a very DEAF Ear when you tell them that they are wrong!!!

I have many years of experience in a PSAP (Public Safety Answering Point) and I was told that my opinion doesn't count because I am a "Trainee". As someone that has been in communications for a number of years I am not lying when I say the YCDES 911 system needs to be revamped/looked into.

Get rid of the Director, Executive Director, and a few others and the problems will go away!!!

I can also tell you that it is very hard to hear what the caller is stating sometimes because of the environment that you are working in. It can be very noisy with people talking and radio traffic in the background.

Who ever was the moron that engineered the building and whomever from the county accepted the final design should be found guilty of stupidity/ignorance!! A 911 center with metal roofs? Did anyone take into affect what would happen when it rains? You can't even hear yourself let alone those on the phone and radio because of this MAJOR design flaw!

I have so much to say, yet so little space here. The Radio System is the LEAST of the problems.

With overtime averaging well over 600 Hours every two weeks, and ALL dispatchers working a average of 52 hours a week, and three supervisors per shift, someone may want to see where we could cut costs, and I believe it should start at the top!!!!
Joseph W Smith Jr

York, PA

#12 May 13, 2011
As far as calling 911, York County 911 tries to eliminate themselves from any liability whatsoever by asking so many questions.

The York County 911 policy states that you are to get the callers address, municipality, name, phone number, and nature of emergency within 60 seconds. It is to be dispatched within 90 seconds. OK... Within 90 seconds of what? If you follow their protocol it sometimes takes well over three to four minutes to make a dispatch depending on the questions needed to be asked and the caller's answers.

I swear that everything that I am stating is on the up and up and the entire 911 program needs to be reevaluated!!!
Old dispatcher 29

Westminster, MD

#13 May 13, 2011
APCO standards for 911 calltaking show that you must have the caller give you the location. If you ask someone if they are in Wrightsville and they are in a panic they will answer yes everytime because they are not listening to what the 911 dispatcher is saying. Also at YCC 1 training supervisor monitors 6-10 traniees at the same time so the odds that that person overheard this actaul call are slim to none. Take it from someone that was there for years, the reason that the turnover rate is so high and the quality of employees is so low is all directly related to the training department. This poor new person is going to take the brunt of this for a mistake caused by the training management. Until the upper level management is cleaned out and the entire training department this will continue until someone is seriously hurt, or worse.(The exact reason I left, on good terms, but still the reason)

As far as 911 knowing where you are at, that is only if you call from you home phone (that most people no longer have) If you are calling from a cell phone, especially and older one, it is harder to track down the proper location. However again as a training issue asking questions like what is the next closest street too you and other simple questions elimnates these mistakes and saves lives.

Just my opinion, but we all know what they are like!

Since: Feb 08

Location hidden

#14 May 13, 2011
Ferdie wrote:
I thought when you call 911 they know where you are calling from? Don't we may a monthly fee on our telephone bill for this?
It states in the article that she was calling from an older CELL PHONE that doesn't have the GPS chip in it so they couldn't use the GPS system to locate her. It will only give the address if you call from a LAND LINE.

York, PA

#15 May 13, 2011
Ferdie wrote:
I thought when you call 911 they know where you are calling from? Don't we may a monthly fee on our telephone bill for this?
She had no house phone and called from an old cell phone.They couldn't figure out where she was calling from
Fire Marshal Bill

Philadelphia, PA

#16 May 13, 2011
Being a firefighter in York, the 65 million dollars that was spent on the "state of the art" 911 is and will continue to be a waste of tax payer money. We have a shiny new paint job on a 1955 broken down old car. Until we overhaul the engine and the drive train, it won't run very well. Looks good, but runs like crap.

If you want to hear the audio tape, go to the following link and listen to it for yourself - .

The caller states Wallace Street in the first part, but then says yes to Water Street when questioned by the dispatcher. When asked which city, township, or borough, the caller says York. Since there is no Water Street in York City or York Township, they next location is Wrightsville. The caller does state yes when asked if she lives in Wrightsville then again says York.

Listen and then decide who is at fault. Wrightsville. Remember it looks good, but nothing under the hood.

Howell, MI

#17 May 13, 2011
I've had my own expierences with the 911 dispatchers. Last fall, when I called for a fire at the house next door, the dispatcher was almost rude to me. The electrical equipment in the basement was sparking and sending out puffs of smoke outside that could be seen and smelled. There is no one living in this house, so there was no way of checking inside. I called 911 and told the dispatcher all of this and she proceeded to ask me if there were flames. As I could not see them and only smoke and sparks, I said no. To which she responded "how do you even KNOW there is a fire there?". The smoke billowing out of the basement, to me, was a great indicator. When the firetrucks did arrive the fire had erupted and in essence caused over 100,000 in damage they are now working to fix. I'm sure they get many many calls for things that are not emergencies, but to react like I wasn't intelligent enough to see there was a problem, seemed very unprofessional to me. When I called about her reaction, they said they "would look into it". That was all I've ever heard.

Omaha, NE

#18 May 13, 2011
Yes, and Chronisters platform is better city schools! Why do we even pay taxes.
Joseph W Smith Jr

York, PA

#19 May 13, 2011
While I am on my tangent... Lets see...

600 Hours of overtime x average hourly wage of $14.50 per hour * time and a half =$13,050.00 per two week period in OVERTIME times 26 pay periods equals $339,300.00 per year that the county is paying out just in overtime that I know of!!

There is a good reason why they can't keep people! And it has nothing to do that these people are failures when they come into the York County 911 training program.

The upper management and training departments are the problem!!! The attrition rate is very high speaks for itself. There is a big gap between those that were there 5 or more years and those that have been there less than that. The group that I was hired with started out with 9 good people. Now there are three left that started with my employment date in November 2010.

What you are told in training and what actually occurs on the floor are two different beasts. You are told to do things one way in your training class, and differently out on the dispatch floor. You are told to listen to your training supervisor and do what they told you, but you can do things the way you feel comfortable with after you are signed off.

Some of the supervisors are also blatantly biased in my opinion and once you have that target painted on your back you are doomed, even if you are following the policies, protocol and procedures (The 3 "P"s at York County 911) and prove your case.

Sexual Harassment/talk? States that its not supposed to happen right in the county handbook, but it occurs EVERYDAY at York County 911! I was told by MY TRAINING SUPERVISOR that whether I like it or not, they talk about sex in there all the time and if I don't like it to leave!

--- Done with Rant mode --- For now

Since: Mar 08

Location hidden

#22 May 13, 2011
on the phone with 911 for 5 minutes and 22 seconds.before dispatch to Wrightsville plus another 5 minutes before them got there. And now the rest of the story. On Wallace street firemen were yelling for water for at least 10 minutes. # firemen stanging at fire truck and could not get water. A 4 firemen came and had water flowing in seconds. This is when the most damage happened.

Mount Laurel, NJ

#23 May 13, 2011
Perhaps County Control could provide us with a form to complete when there is an emergency to report. We could then mail it to them and then they would have all the necessary information.

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