Training dispatchers - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Posted by: George Metaxas, 9/3/03, 9:19 p.m.

Training dispatchers

While the 911 confusion is still under investigation, there have been a number of signs that this was not a failure in technology, but human error from dispatchers. The focus shifts to what kind of training those dispatchers have.

From the very first call, a Memphis dispatcher started medical treatment. But minutes later, on another call, the treatment direction was different, leading some to question just how qualified dispatchers are.

According to Bartlett, their dispatchers must be 21 years old, have a High School diploma or GED, and no criminal record. There are similar requirements for Memphis dispatchers, who only need to be 18. Both must go through a state certification that includes medical training and psychological test.

Despite the training, early indications show the mix-up was human confusion on who should respond.

Bartlett officials say it wasn't their mistake. Their maps are correct. Shelby County 911 officials say their maps were also accurate, and unless Memphis's data was NOT updated, there should have been no reason for Memphis dispatchers to question the call. Memphis is investigating.

Bartlett officials are urging people who live in new subdivisions, or newly annexed areas to call their police departments, and say you want to test your 911. This may avoid future mistakes.

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