The headlines read:
“Firefighters arrived at the home. No one answered the door, so they left. Inside, an entire family was being poisoned by carbon monoxide.”
You can read (and really must read/listen) this very in-depth media report (with audio etc) below. PLEASE BE SURE TO LISTEN to how the caller was treated on the phone by various personnel.
This latest incident (multiple deaths) serves as another strong, strong reminder to us all. This is hardly the first time we have made headlines where a terrible outcome resulted because fire officers reportedly left too soon.
…Dispatchers didn’t fully relay information.
…Dispatchers didn’t ask the correct questions.
…Dispatchers may not have “believed” the caller.
…Companies left without thoroughly checking out the building or the scene.
…Didn’t check thoroughly.
…Firefighters Returned to quarters.
HERE is one example:
-Firefighters responded to a reported fire and left after they didn’t see any signs of a fire. Returned later and had a working fire-and a woman died. Initial crews didn’t get out of their apparatus.
THIS MOST RECENT INCIDENT LEAVES CIVILIANS DEAD:
The below incident would have had nothing showing-but regardless of this or any other call. We have an obligation to leave no “stone unturned.”
-Call the caller back.
-BELIEVE the caller until there’s a verified reason not to believe the caller.
-Check the house.
-Check it again.
And most critically, dispatch personnel must ask the questions-believe the answers-and then relay EVERYTHING about that incident to responding crews.
It seems that generally we are in such a rush to get to the “good” calls-but when there’s nothing obvious, we are sometimes in such a rush to cancel and return to quarters.
We want to get back to quarters. For what? What’s the rush? What else do we have going on? Need more sleep? Please. Do the job as you would want the job done for your own loved ones.
WE CANNOT be in any rush to leave until we are 100% sure that we have solved the problem.
Leave no stone unturned. No meter un-used. No window unchecked. No door unforced. No phone call made back (and if needed-call the caller back yourself)…if that’s what it takes to make sure we have connected all the pieces so we-and all those involved-can sleep well after the run.
There is NOT a dispatcher, firefighter or Fire Officer that “means” for anything bad to happen to anyone. In Texas. In georgia. In your town. But we DO get lazy, complacent, tired or careless and we tend to “write the call off as BS” and we head back to quarters. Leadership fails to have policies, training on the policies (dispatch and field personnel) and all that is required to insure the best care to the public.
MEDIA SUMMARY OF THIS INCIDENT:
It was 9:08 p.m. when Michael Negussie’s phone rang. Twenty minutes had passed since he called 911 asking for emergency crews to check on his cousins and their two children, fearing that they had fainted from carbon monoxide poisoning in their Houston home during a massive winter storm.
A fire captain at the dispatch center told Negussie that an emergency crew had arrived at the two-story townhouse. But, he said, no one was answering the door.
“It’s one of those things, if they get there and they have to force entry, they’re going to break the door, displace the lock,” the captain said, according to a recording of the 911 call.
Negussie was baffled. Why would emergency responders expect someone to come to the door if the reason for the call was that the family was unconscious?
“Yeah, that’s fine. Do that as soon as possible,” Negussie, 21, responded, trying to convey the urgency. “We think that they might have inhaled carbon monoxide in the garage.”
Less than five minutes later, the fire crew was gone. The four family members, who had already spent hours unconscious, were left unattended and exposed to the lethal, invisible gas for nearly three more hours, according to documents from the Houston fire and police departments and recordings of 911 calls obtained by ProPublica, The Texas Tribune and NBC News.
An operator at the dispatch center didn’t share the crucial details about Negussie’s carbon monoxide concerns with the crew at the scene, according to records and interviews with fire department officials. Police officers never arrived. Neither the Houston Police Department nor the city’s emergency center could find any records indicating the fire captain requested assistance.
When emergency responders returned to the home near midnight, after Negussie called 911 again, they found Etenesh Mersha, 46, and her 7-year-old daughter, Rakaeb, dead. Her husband, Shalemu Bekele, and their 8-year-old son, Beimnet, were lying on the floor, still breathing. They were rushed to the hospital. Bekele spent days recovering. Beimnet was in the hospital for nearly a month.
PLEASE TAKE TIME TO LISTEN TO THE AUDIO 911 TRAFFIC…AND PLEASE PASS THIS ON TO YOUR 911 COMMUNICATIONS LEADERSHIP.
It’s another opportunity for all of us to learn.
READ AND LISTEN HERE:
Take Care. Be Careful. Pass it On. Give A Shit.
The Secret List 8/22/2021-1446 Hours
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