Errors in 911 calls on back-to-back days in Corner Brook

Cory
Cory Hurley
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The Corner Brook Fire Department’s dispatch to the wrong address Saturday came just a day after an ambulance was sent to the wrong location.

The fire crew took more than 10 minutes to get to a fire on West Avenue last Saturday, a response that should have taken a mere two or three minutes.

Firefighters were dispatched to Westview Avenue.

The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary (RNC) confirmed it was a mistake by the dispatcher and the matter was being reviewed to prevent future errors.

“We need to do better,” Insp. Terry Corbin said earlier this week.

The Western Star was later informed of a similar situation involving an ambulance responding to Commerce Court on Main Street.

The emergency responders were seen entering that facility, before leaving for the commerce building (where CIBC is located), where the call originated from.

This time, the confusion of the address came from a misunderstanding during the call itself. RNC Sgt. Tim Buckle said the caller requested assistance at the commerce building. In confirming the address, Buckle said the dispatcher asked if that was at Commerce Court and the caller said it was.

Buckle said the error was made by the caller in this circumstance, which would be open to interpretation.

Regardless, these incidents validate the importance of callers and dispatchers receiving and passing along the correct information, admits Buckle.

A spokesperson for Western Health said the error was made by the dispatcher who confused Commerce Court with the commerce building.

A Reliable Ambulance crew responded from Western Memorial Regional Hospital. The error was discovered “fairly quickly,” but it caused a two-minute delay to the medical emergency.

The spokesperson for Western Health stated via email there are processes the dispatcher can follow to reduce the chance of this happening. Examples are having the caller repeat the location, spell the street name and verbally confirm the caller’s request.

“When something like this does happen, we take it seriously and try to find opportunities to try to prevent similar situations in the future,” the email stated.

The Western Star

Organizations: Westview Avenue.The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary, Western Health, CIBC Western Memorial Regional Hospital

Geographic location: Western Star, Corner Brook, West Avenue

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