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911 dispatcher scolds caller stranded
in floodwaters shortly before she drowns

Original Article

Posted By: PageTurner, 8/31/2019 7:00:29 PM

A 911 dispatcher in Arkansas scolded a woman stranded in floodwaters shortly before the woman drowned. The incident has led police in Fort Smith, Arkansas, to apologize and review their policies for emergency responses during storms. Debra Stevens, 47, was delivering newspapers at about 4:38 a.m. on Aug. 24 when her car was swept away by floodwaters and got stuck in a copse of trees off the roadway amid rising waters, Fort Smith police said. Her call to 911 was answered by then-dispatcher Donna Reneau, who was working her last shift as a 911 operator after she had presented her resignation earlier this month, NBC affiliate KARK reported.

Comments:

Evil old hag, and fat as a hog. I can only hope that some day she has to call 911 and reaches someone just as revolting as herself.

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Reply 1 - Posted by: Corndoggies 8/31/2019 7:12:22 PM (No. 168029)
This is just a carp show all the way around. Responders were helping others at the time I don’t know how they prioritize. Knowing how to swim might have helped, who really knows? I know if I’m gonna drown I ain’t doing it sitting in a car if I can help it.
5 people like this.

Reply 2 - Posted by: DARling 8/31/2019 7:20:30 PM (No. 168037)
The woman was brusque. But hysterical people often need to be shaken up in order to calm down. It is not the fault of the 911 dispatcher that the woman died. If things had turned out differently, people would be making allowances for the woman's demeanor towards the caller. May she rest in peace. I won't judge the 911 dispatcher because I have never walked a mile in those shoes. For every true emergency you are likely to have to put up with someone who calls 911 to report that McDonalds is out of Chicken McNuggets. But I know from experience that you have to find a way to get hysterical people to focus on helping the police to help them. I used to work with crime victims and often had to steer the conversation to "Just the facts, Ma'am" if I wanted to be in a position to provide effective assistance.
10 people like this.

Reply 3 - Posted by: ginadee 8/31/2019 7:21:45 PM (No. 168038)
Unforgivable.
3 people like this.

Reply 4 - Posted by: PostAway 8/31/2019 8:01:46 PM (No. 168075)
No professional person should ever tell a person to “shut up” and no dispatcher or first responder should ever tell a victim that their own stupidity got them into trouble. Maybe other people like judges, family members or friends should but not emergency responders.
7 people like this.

Reply 5 - Posted by: Jennie C. 8/31/2019 8:09:35 PM (No. 168089)
#2 ... I certainly hope I never have to ask you for help.
5 people like this.

Reply 6 - Posted by: anonymous 8/31/2019 8:11:12 PM (No. 168093)
I was appalled by this 911 dispatcher's attitude, absolutely appalled. She's a disgrace to her profession. Put simply, it's not a dispatcher's job to moralize to somebody who has called for assistance and who is in imminent danger. If she wants to moralize, she should get a job elsewhere. Personally, I'd prosecute her.
4 people like this.

Reply 7 - Posted by: watashiyo 8/31/2019 8:34:04 PM (No. 168109)
Water pressure from the outside prevented her from opening the door. She was trapped inside the car. If she was calm, she could have had the presence of mind to crack open the window or the dispatcher could have adviced the same. Windshields are very easy to kick them out from the inside. Done it before. At this point, I'm engaged in Monday night quarterbacking and I'm sorry. The dispatcher should've been more empathetic with the desperate caller. Otherwise, replace them all with a computer or an AI robot.
4 people like this.

Reply 8 - Posted by: cor-vet 8/31/2019 9:26:30 PM (No. 168140)
Doesn't say much for whomever certified her or where-ever she received her certified training!
1 person likes this.

Reply 9 - Posted by: chance_232 8/31/2019 10:06:12 PM (No. 168168)
Im not going to second guess this either. The dispatcher spent 25 minutes on the phone with an obviously distressed, terrified and possibly hysterical individual. Ive dealt with hysterical people a few times, and sometimes, if you cant slap them to get their attention, you have to yell. Sometimes being calm and empathetic doesn't work.
2 people like this.

Reply 10 - Posted by: Shells 8/31/2019 10:16:47 PM (No. 168173)
Twice in my life I’ve been in somewhat similar situations. The first, as a young adult, I wound up foolishly on a train from Naples to Rome with several hundred angry soccer fans. Boy were the carabinieri angry about having to come rescue me from that situation. What a stupid American. I wrecked their dinner. They were more violent than my attackers. The second time I was rear ended on a busy parkway. The guy who hit me’s front bumper was in my back seat and I was badly injured. When the cops arrived I got a lecture about screwing up rush hour traffic. I don’t know what to do when I’m in trouble anymore.
4 people like this.

Reply 11 - Posted by: JL80863 9/1/2019 1:53:12 AM (No. 168244)
Thank God the vast majority of 911 Dispatchers are highly professional and caring people willing to operate in a pressure cooker environment. A big salute to you all.
1 person likes this.

Reply 12 - Posted by: Catherine 9/1/2019 2:55:47 AM (No. 168254)
If she doesn't have the stamina to give each and every caller her utmost attention and civil language, then she needs to be fired. I think she should come up on charges of some sort. This is unforgivable.
0 people like this.

Reply 13 - Posted by: NorthernDog 9/1/2019 8:21:19 AM (No. 168347)
The dispatcher had already given notice she was quitting, so I'm guessing she knew she was not cut out for the job. It's unfortunate the woman who drowned did not get help fast enough. Anymore flash floods kill more people than any other weather event.
0 people like this.

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