Americus Times-Recorder, Americus, Georgia

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April 19, 2006

Why all the questions?

Mid Flint E911 explains why

ELLAVILLE — Why do those dispatchers ask all those questions when taking calls at the Middle Flint Regional E911 Center in Ellaville?

Executive Director Ellice Fancher gave answers to this question and elaborated on other issues in a recent interview with the Ellaville SUN. The Center celebrated its first year of operation on April 6, in collaboration with National 911 Week.

“We’re still having to teach the public about 911,” Fancher said. She said the constant complaint she gets from people who use the service is that dispatchers “ask too many questions.”

Fancher explained that one minute after the dispatcher takes the call, another dispatcher is putting the call through to units with the appropriate agency responding to the call.

“The reason we ask all those questions is that we are trying to help the responders,” Fancher said. “The more questions we ask the better.”

Fancher explained that asking the questions is a “safety issue,” and the responders get enough information to hopefully nab the suspect.

“We can tell these units what they are looking for, if we ask the questions,” she said.

Fancher said in emergency/medical situations where emergency medical technicians (EMTs) are responding to someone who has had a seizure or is unconscious for one reason or another, asking as many questions as possible gives the EMTs enough information to help them respond properly with the proper equipment.

“When they get there, they know what equipment they need, and they can take it with them when they get out of the ambulance,” she explained. In other words, they don’t have to spend time determining what equipment they will need because they use the information given by the dispatchers who are asking the questions.

“It helps the responders know what they are going into,” she said. “Nobody’s being held up.”

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