Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Confusing 911 Process Leads To Teen’s Drowning

 On June 4, first responders arrived too late to save a drowning 16-year-old in the Potomac River, reported WTOP News. Now, the reason for the delay is under investigation, putting a series of transferred 911 calls, confusion over the victim’s location, and a decades-old policy on emergency agency jurisdiction under the microscope.

In a Loudoun County Board of Supervisors meeting on September 1, a 77-page report — jointly conducted by the fire and rescue departments of Loudoun County, VA and Montgomery County, MD — revealed operational and technological shortcomings that lead to the death of Fitz Thomas. The teenager was swimming with friends, who placed emergency calls from cell phones received by operators in both Loudoun and Montgomery counties. Loudoun County Fire Chief Keith Johnson said efforts were hampered by technical issues, difficulty ascertaining the teen’s location and a long-standing response protocol. Continue Reading

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