Getting 911 information straight

The 26 April Cayman Net News article headlined Firms Block Staff 9-1-1 Calls may have resulted in some misinterpretation among the public, since the article has prompted a number of calls to my department.

While I appreciate the attention that the article has brought to the subject, I emphasise that I do not believe companies are deliberately blocking 911 access. Rather, in trying to reduce high telephone bills and periods of non-productivity, they have blocked outside lines, inadvertently blocking access to 911.

I am aware that some businesses have developed procedures that provide assistance for their employees in the event of an emergency, without having to call 911.

As stated in the article, these procedures include finding a manager or calling the person in that organisation that has had some first-aid training.

This is not an ideal plan for serious life-threatening emergency situations.

From my professional perspective, I recommend that companies implement a sealed envelope plan. This is where an employee keeps a form on his or her personnel file that includes a medical profile, such as allergies and medications; the name and number of the person to call in case of an emergency and instructions on what to do if the employee cannot speak for himself or herself.

That way, the personnel manager or individual assisting can relay that information to 911 on behalf of the patient / victim.

This may not be the most ideal situation. However, if this is the only method of speaking with a patient, that information is invaluable.

Juliette Gooding – 911 Emergency Communications Director

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