News : 911 Call Center Dispatchers Trained to Pick Up on Subtle Hints
Savannah, GA, USA, Feb 3, 2015 -- If you call 911 and can’t talk, dispatchers say don’t worry. Even if you hang up, Chatham county dispatchers say they’ll always call back and respond.
Lt. Jeff Olson is the communications commander with Savannah Chatham Metro Police. He says the much talked about Super Bowl commercial portrayed dispatchers in a good light. In the commercial, a woman calls 911 and pretends to order a pizza. The dispatcher quickly realizes she is in distress and begins asking questions.
"I was impressed and being the commander of the 911 center here I know that we do similar things and our people are trained to do the same that was shown on the commercial," Olson said.
Thirty-six weeks of interactive training is the bare minimum the dispatchers must undergo before they’re allowed to answer a call alone.
"We have a lot of calls ranging from a 911 hangup, which is someone doesn’t say anything at all and in those cases we immediately attempt to make contact," Olson said.
Chatham county dispatchers are trained to ask "yes" or "no" questions if they believe a caller cannot speak openly about his or her situation. Olson says even if a person claims the 911 call was an accident, the caller must be thoroughly convincing.
"And if we don’t make contact it generates an immediate response if we do make contact then the person has to be convincing that they do not need emergency services otherwise that will generate a response as well,’ said Olson. "So unless someone is very convincing that they’re not in distress we send them help."
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Published: Thursday, February 5, 2015