DC 911 call taker on leave after crews sent to wrong address

A D.C. 911 call taker is on administrative leave after they incorrectly entered an address, contributing to a delayed emergency response to a call in which a woman was found dead.

The Office of Unified Communication, which runs D.C.’s 911 center, said a caller called 911 for a medical emergency at 1222 I St. SE on Monday, May 9.

However, the call taker left out one “2,” and entered the address as 122 I St. SE, initially sending crews to a location a mile away from the stricken woman, according to the agency.

Safety advocate and former reporter Dave Statter was first to report the mistaken dispatch on his Statter911 blog. According to Statter’s posting of radio transmissions, a responding firefighter asked the dispatcher to confirm the location, saying 122 I St. was a bad address.

Statter said it took 11 minutes from the time of the first dispatch until 911 staff re-dispatched crews to the proper address.

“So, 11 minutes were lost, and then minutes on top of that until they traveled the distance,” said Statter.

Kelly Brown, chief of staff for OUC, said in a statement that the call was “for a patient who was not conscious or breathing and unable to be roused.”

Brown said the agency and fire department are reviewing why the call taker entered the address incorrectly; whether mapping and location accuracy technology was available and used; and whether protocols, including instructing a caller to give CPR, were followed, as well as the total response time.

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Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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