Delaware County 911 Dispatchers Getting Training From Card System
DELAWARE COUNTY, Oklahoma - A little girl drowned at a Delaware County pool about a week ago, and it took almost four minutes before a 911 dispatcher sent an ambulance.
The district attorney's office is investigating the circumstances of the call and the delay in getting help to the scene, but there's no timetable on when they'll know what happened. The dispatcher also didn't offer any potentially life saving advice on what to do.
The Delaware County Sheriff said the 911 dispatcher didn't have what's called a "card" system, which helps dispatchers get the right information from callers and then give the caller information on how to help.
In cities like Tulsa, paramedics answer the phone and use software to go through the process. But a manual card system has the same information.
"This, itself: ballpark around $1,000. The training: several hundred per employee," said Bryon Schultz, of EMSA Quality Improvement.
Schultz said, with the card system, the most important question - location - comes first, but it's up to the dispatcher to get the response they need from the caller, and that's a function of training.
"There's no state requirement on dispatcher training, so it's whatever that agency decides to do," Schultz said.
In the Delaware County call, confusion over the location delayed the response by several minutes, but it's unknown if that delay contributed to the death of 7-year-old Kaitlynn Garcia.
Once dispatchers get the location, the card system takes them through every possibility of what's wrong and how to help.
"And that's how the whole system is designed, around this protocol, to get the right help to the right place at the right time," Schultz said.
Sheriff Harlan Moore said the county ordered one of the card systems weeks ago, and will put it into use as soon as they finish training on it.
The Oklahoma Ambulance Association says it's quite common for small towns to not have a card system, so they're limited to just answering the phone and sending help.