911 Dispatcher Falls Asleep During Call: Twitter Reacts

By: WebProNews Staff - May 23, 2012

911 dispatcher falls asleep during a call placed on April 4th, according to the Huffington Post. A Maryland woman started to get a little concerned when her husband stopped breathing and started turning blue. Being a responsible, clear-minded adult, she picked up the phone and called 911. After explaining the scenario to the operator, she was then connected to the ambulance dispatcher.

Instead of a helpful, friendly voice, the distraught woman was met with silence, followed by the sound of someone sawing logs. The lady made several attempts to rouse the dispatcher from this mid-shift slumber, though nothing seemed to be working. When the original operator decided to step in to help, she assumed that the snoring was coming from the woman’s husband, not from one of the 911 employees.

Four minutes into the call, the sleepy-eyed dispatcher suddenly sprang to life, asking the woman for her address. Fortunately for the lady and her non-breathing husband, help eventually arrived and everything was a-okay. The dozing dispatcher, meanwhile, has been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation. It’s worth noting, however, that the individual in question was 17 hours into a 24 hour shift.

Assistant Chief Scott Graham claims that, in the two dozen years he’s been on the job, this is the first time he’s encountered an operator sleeping during a call.

The very thought of someone catching a quick nap while you’re attempting to call for help is more than a little horrifying. Folks on Twitter seem to think this sort of thing is inexcusable, and I happen to agree. You can find a small cluster of reactions to the dozing dispatcher story below.

911 dispatcher falls asleep during a call?? Really??
1 hour ago via TwitBird · powered by @socialditto
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The dispatcher who falls asleep during emergency call should be hang. The public needs to find out who he is & make him pay.
1 hour ago via web · powered by @socialditto
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WOWWWW that’d be an awful way to die RT @AskMen 911 Dispatcher Falls Asleep, Starts Snoring as Woman Pleads for Help: http://t.co/76P62Zlh
1 hour ago via web · powered by @socialditto
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Its not really funny but i did snicker. RT “@ComplexGuide: 911 dispatcher falls asleep, starts snoring during a call. http://t.co/tWGJDxIZ
1 hour ago via Twitter for iPhone · powered by @socialditto
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C’mon let’s spice up those 911 calls we’re boring them@HuffingtonPost 911 dispatcher falls asleep during emergency call http://t.co/O3r7A2IU
7 minutes ago via web · powered by @socialditto
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  • Toni B

    I recently moved from a position at work where I worked long overnight hours, with great responsibility. BUT, I had to wait for another opening to become available before I could move. We have regulations as to how many hours we can work straight through at my company. Its automatic termination if caught sleeping. I also have a friend that has been an emergency dispatcher for 20+ years. If I heard this on the news correct…this person was into their 17th hour on their shift. That is way too long!!!! It really upsets me when people are so quick to say things like, “hang” them. Why don’t we “hang” the schedulers? …the bosses? …the company owners? …the ones in charge of putting and leaving people (human beings) in a job position as important as this, for tooooo many hours straight!!!!! This should say something about our laws and regulations. Truck drivers go through the same thing, as well as doctors and nurses. For many years employers have fudged records to keep these people on the job for hours past their legal limits…where there are legal limits. I thank God this wasn’t a more serious situation. I also feel for the person that was working. I’d like to see a few more people focus their energy on changing things, rather than criticizing and condemning this person. It would make more sense to me…ensure the safety of the public, and health and welfare of the dispatcher.

  • Andy Chow

    It’s stupid to ask someone to work 24 hour shifts. Of course people will fall asleep doing that. Aren’t there laws that prevent this?

    Why not have 48 hour shifts? Or 168 hour shifts? That would be a lot more efficient for management, who wouldn’t have to think so much about juggling schedules. Fire the person who thinks a 24 shift is reasonable.