A federal investigation reviewing the 2016 fatal shooting of a Maryland firefighter found that 911 public safety call takers did not warn first responders that the possibility of guns had been reported at the scene and that volunteer firefighters were not wearing a common uniform the night of the incident that made it clear who they were.
Those flaws and others contributed to the fatal shooting of Prince George’s County firefighter John “Skillet” Ulmschneider while he answered a 911 call to check on someone’s welfare, according to the fatality investigation report released last week by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.
In light of the findings, federal investigators recommended police departments, not fire departments, handle initial calls for a welfare check. Investigators also recommended public safety agencies make sure first responders ask for and get important safety cautions — such as that weapons may be present at a scene — as they are dispatched.
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