Skip to comments.911 Error Sends Firemen to Wrong House
Posted on 11/10/2009 11:17:32 AM PST by Chet 99
911 Error Sends Firemen to Wrong House
Updated: Monday, 09 Nov 2009, 4:00 PM PST Published : Monday, 09 Nov 2009, 3:57 PM PST
By LILY FU
(MYFOX NATIONAL) - A mistake by a 911 operator sent a fire truck to a wrong address in Queens, N.Y., where a house fire killed three people on Saturday.
The New York Post reports that the operator mistakenly typed a "2" instead of a "5" in the address. The firefighters were sent to an address three blocks away from where the actual fire was.
By the time the fire trucks made it to the correct address, which was 4 minutes and 55 seconds after the 911 call was made, two people had died. Another person who was rescued at the house later died at a local hospital.
"If we arrived quicker, those people would have a better chance of surviving," said Leroy McGinnis of the Uniformed Firefighters Association. "We believe the time difference could be up to 2 1/2 minutes."
FDNY spokesman Jim Long told the Post that other units were already at the scene when the delayed unit arrived and said the error "was addressed within a timely manner ... We still had a very good response time."
In August a Georgia woman died while waiting for an ambulance that a 911 operator sent to the wrong address. The Fulton County 911 director said that the operator heard the wrong address over the phone, but should have recognized that the address was wrong since the cell phone tower showed the call coming from a completely different area. The ambulance was delayed 25 minutes and the 911 operator was fired.
I can understand somebody immobile, or in a tall apartment building. Why couldn’t they escape?
If it was only a few blocks away you’d think smoke could be seen by the firemen. Not in anyway taking anything away from these brave souls. What I’m saying is how sure can we be this article was written correctly.
Last Friday around midnight, a firetruck went up our street, stopped, backed up into a driveway, turned around passed our house again turned a corner and stopped, found another wide spot to turn around, and proceeded the way he came from and went down another street, only to come out of that street again within a few seconds. It was pretty funny from our vantage point, though I hope whoever made the call also had a sense of humor.
At least firemen don’t shoot people when they show up at the wrong house.
In the several, mostly very rural, fire departments that I’ve been in, dispatch “addresses” could be anythng from a rural route mailbox number to “go past the barn to the next road, then turn right”. I remember one aid call that was dispatched to “Piersall’s bridge”. Of course, all the guys on the department knew where that was and headed that way.
So the standing joke for rural fire dispatch was to get within a few blocks and look for smoke. And that has worked more than once.
As far as this article, it sounds like a teevee report trying to make a big thing out of nothing, when I read further in the article that “other units were already at the scene when the delayed unit arrived”. But the 911 ‘call taker’ should probably get some remedial typing training, although they’re probably union and couldn’t be disciplined no matter how many deaths could be laid at their feet due to their mistakes.