Report Shows Why Emergency Crews Sent to Wrong Location in Deadly Crash

Posted at 5:22 PM, Sep 15, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-21 13:57:17-04

TALLAHASSEE, FL (WTXL) - An internal review of the Consolidated Dispatch Agency's response to a deadly crash on Pensacola Street and White Drive, says that even though fire crews were sent to the wrong location, medical treatment for the victims was not delayed.

The internal review was requested by CDA Director Timothy Lee after the September 6th crash that killed 3 people, when it was discovered that a call error caused firefighters to go to the wrong location and not make it to the scene until 10 minutes after the first 911 call.

One of the problems identified in the report was with a function that allows dispatchers to send previously dispatched information to a second agency.

When dispatchers enter the information for a call into their system they select an agency to send it to, for example police. If another agency such as the Fire Department or EMS need to be sent out, dispatchers can send them the information by sending a "clone" of the call. This is done by either right clicking on the code assigned to the incident or by manually entering it.

According to the report, when the dispatcher sent the information to the Tallahassee Fire Department (TFD) and EMS for the Pensacola crash, they entered a wrong number and sent a code from a previous incident on Village Square Boulevard.

However, the report says another dispatcher took a separate call about the crash and was able to send the code with the correct information to EMS approximately 20 seconds later. The report says EMS arrived on-scene close to 3 minutes after the first call about the crash.

The correct code was not sent to TFD until later, which caused the 10 minute delay in that agency's arrival to the scene of the crash.

The report states, "The call-taker’s entry was one digit off from the correct incident number. Consensus was reached that had the call-taker used the “right click” method there still may have been an error (e.g., whereby the wrong incident is highlighted and entered). Both methods present the potential for error."

Because of this, the CDA has asked the company that issues the system to research solutions that may limit future human error. More training is also being developed for employees to reinforce "...the importance of manually entering accurate information."

The report says the call-taker was reprimanded and that the employee was given a refresher training on misused aspect of the CDA's system.

The CDA is also looking at a way to automatically dispatch Fire and Law Enforcement whenever there is a situation where EMS is the main department responding to a traffic crash. They would then be able to cancel calls to additional agencies as more information is gathered.