A 911 dispatcher is under fire after lecturing a woman on the phone with her in her dying moments.
“Please help me, I don’t want to die!”, Stevens begged the dispatcher. “I can’t swim! I’m scared! I’m going to drown!”
According to CNN,
Debra Stevens was working her normal newspaper delivery route in Fort Smith, Arkansas, when rising flood waters began to overtake her SUV.
The final, desperate 911 call of the 47-year-old woman who delivered the Southwest Times Record to front doors came at 4:38 on the morning of August 24. It was a panicked, 22-minute plea for help with a dispatcher that the Fort Smith Police Department admitted sounded “calloused and uncaring at times.”
“I have an emergency — a severe emergency,” Stevens told the female dispatcher. “I can’t get out, and I’m scared to death, ma’am. Can you please help me?”
Authorities took over an hour to get to Stevens’ vehicle after the 911 call was made due to the depth of the floodwaters. They were actually there 12 minutes after the call, but couldn’t find the car.
The Fort Smith police released a statement regarding the call and stated that they did so with “great reluctance.”
“The recording contains the audio of a dying person’s last moments as well as the interaction between her and the 911 operator.
And while the operator’s response to this extremely tense and dynamic event sounds calloused and uncaring at times, sincere efforts were being made to locate and save Mrs. Stevens.”
I can see the difficulty here. On one hand, she did say some things that seem harsh, but at the same time, I can understand taking her words in another way and the things she said were appropriate. If I absolutely needed someone to be quiet in order to focus on saving someone’s life, I’d tell them to shut up also if I needed to.
What do you think?