When you call 911, what should you expect?
On August 23rd I was stopped at Riverside and Brown in Spokane Washington. After being hit by a hit and run delivery van, multiple times, I called 911. In the attempt to get the license number of the van I followed the van until I lost them at 2nd and Lincoln. What follows is what the 911 Operator said, “911 Please Hold” after waiting for about what I believed was 2 minutes, they came on again and said, “911 Whats your emergency” My response was I am at 2nd and Lincoln, my phone number is 509-638-8828 and then said, I need a Police officer, I have been involved in a Hit and Run Accident. The police officer took about a half hour to respond.
The analysis shows:
- The chance of surviving a dire medical emergency in the USA is a matter of geography. If you collapse from cardiac arrest in Seattle, a 911 call likely will bring instant advice and fast-moving firefighters and paramedics. Collapse in Washington, D.C., and — as one EMS official suggests — someone better call a cab for you. Seattle saves 45% of saveable victims like Rusinek; Washington, D.C., has no idea how many victims like Rusinek it saves. The city estimates it saves 4% of cardiac arrests, but inconsistent record-keeping makes it impossible for Washington to account accurately for its most saveable victims.
- In the nation’s 50 largest cities, about 9,000 people collapse each year from cardiac arrest caused by a short circuit in the heart. Only an estimated 6% to 10%, or as few as 540, are rescued. If every major city increased its save rate to 20%, as a number of cities have done, a total of 1,800 lives could be saved every year.
Major reasons that emergency services in most U.S. cities are saving so few people in life-or-death situations:
- Many cities’ emergency services are undermined by their culture. Infighting and turf wars between fire departments and ambulance services cause deadly delays.
- Most cities don’t measure their performance effectively,if at all. They don’t know how many lives they’re losing, so they can’t determine ways to increase survival rates.
- Many cities lack the strong leadership needed to improve emergency medical services. Leadership — by the mayor, the city council and community health officials — can make a dramatic difference. Boston, for example, more than doubled its survival rate over 10 years under the direction of a strong mayor who demanded change and enlisted city officials, businesses and many residents in the drive to save lives. (source: http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/nation/ems-day1-cover.htm)