Accident response time delayed

Accident response time delayed

By Shellie Berg

By Shellie Berg

Staff Reporter

Questions have arisen about whether the city’s 911 center answered calls on time and promptly sent out ambulances Dec. 26 to aid victims of an accident on Bell School Road and East State Street.

Ken Fullbright, 35, died at the accident scene after colliding with Alison Rose, 36.

According to Bill Beaman, division chief of operations for the fire department, a call was placed at 8:58 a.m., and an ambulance arrived there at 9:02.

At the scene another ambulance was called to treat Rose and arrived at 9:07. However, a source stated a second ambulance was requested to help the first ambulance and the second ambulance was 20 minutes late.

“We’ve checked all times in the accident,” 911 center shift supervisor Dick Atchison said. “There’s no delay there.”

Beaman said the only delays that may have transpired were from calls to the center. “What you have to realize with the dispatchers, too, is they’re inundated with calls,” he stated. “They’re trying to route calls to the police dispatchers and the fire dispatchers.”

The source said dispatchers aren’t carrying out their duties. Police union President Doug Block contradicted that claim. Block said the 911 center is understaffed sometimes. “I feel they do a good job with the staffing they have,” he said. “They dispatch as soon as they can.”

Also, Beaman said an individual who telephoned the police station Tuesday complaining about a time delay for ambulances to arrive may have heard about a separate incident that was phoned in later.

A call came in at 9:31 for an accident on Church and Chestnut streets, and paramedics arrived at 9:35. “We didn’t have a delay on Church Street either,” Beaman remarked.

Beaman feels the ambulances’ responses to both incidents were good because of road conditions.

Controversey has existed about the number of ambulances available for peak call times, with some critics saying another two ambulances should be added to insure public safety.

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