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Lessons learned from a 911 dispatch mix-up

No matter how sophisticated our technology has become, it is never a replacement for the basics


I've never worked anywhere that the occasional street mix-up didn't occur between a 9-1-1 caller, communications center, and responding units in the field.

As the neighbor interviewed for this story correctly stated, it's a "system" that ultimately depends on the complex interaction of people and
technology for effective performance.

The positive lesson in this case was the action taken by a heads-up Pittsburgh fire company that, hearing the (incorrect) dispatch address and knowing they have a similarly named street in their response area, hit the road and discovered the 2-alarm fire.

(While it's important to follow your department's SOPs for self-dispatching, company officers that use good judgment in these instances shouldn't have a problem.)

No matter how sophisticated our computer aided dispatch (CAD) systems, mobile computer terminals (MCTs), and GPS devices become, technology is never a substitute for the basics; regular map/street drills and knowing your first-due area like the back of your hand.

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