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Maryland 911 dispatcher falls asleep during emergency call

By David Ferguson
Wednesday, May 23, 2012 15:49 EDT
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A woman in Montgomery County, Maryland called for help when her husband had difficulty breathing and started turning blue.  According to CNN, minutes into the call, the dispatcher on duty fell asleep and began to snore.

Moments later, a second dispatcher took up the call, but became confused by the sound of the other man’s snoring.  He asked the caller if her husband was breathing and if those were the sounds he was hearing.  The woman answered “Yes,” but then seconds later said that her husband hadn’t been breathing for a while.

Finally, five and a half minutes into the call, the first dispatcher wakes up and picks up where he left off, asking the woman for her address.

EMTs eventually arrived on the scene and transported the victim to the hospital.  He was reportedly unharmed by the time lost on the call.

Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Assistant Chief Scott Graham said that the dispatcher was 17 hours into a 24 hour shift when he dozed off.  He emphasized that this was the only incident of its kind in his experience.

“In my 24 years here this is the only time a dispatcher has ever fallen asleep on a 911 call,” he said.  The firefighter on duty as a dispatcher was reportedly 20 minutes away from his next scheduled rest period.

Watch the video, which aired Tuesday, May 22 on CNN, embedded below:

(Image via CNN screen grab)

David Ferguson
David Ferguson
David Ferguson is an editor at Raw Story. He was previously writer and radio producer in Athens, Georgia, hosting two shows for Georgia Public Broadcasting and blogging at Firedoglake.com and elsewhere. He is currently working on a book.
 
 
 
 
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