When 911 is dialed in an emergency, possibly a life or death situation, even a minutes-long wait for the ambulance to arrive can feel like hours. What many might not realize is the voice on the other end of the line could be the real lifesaver.
“I think it takes a really special person to do that job,” said Jessica Ogg.
On May 27, Ogg was at home with family and friends cooing over her newborn grandson, Logan Furr. It was Logan’s first day home in Rowlett after being born five-weeks premature and spending three more in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
The joy of a newborn quickly turned to panic.
“We were holding him and he stopped making faces and never took another breathe.”
As fear turned to despair, Ogg’s husband Justin Curran called 911. In the call, Curran’s voice is filled with urgency while the dispatcher’s remains stoic and calm. At the time, Curran admits it was frustrating.
“He was asking for the address and then the phone number,” said Curran about the conversation that seemed to drag given the situation. “I said ‘there’s an infant here, just get here!’ It seemed to take forever.”
But with the benefit of hindsight, Ogg and Curran now realize just how crucial those questions were to saving Logan’s life. In the 911 call, the dispatcher asks if anyone at the home knows CPR. Curran can be heard anxiously telling the dispatcher nobody does while continuing to ask for an ambulance.
“I am going to talk you through (CPR), sir. I need someone who can do it,” said the voice on the other end of the line.
What Curran may not have known was an ambulance had been dispatched to the home almost immediately. But the conversation between caller and dispatcher went according to Emergency Management Dispatch software Rowlett 911 uses to guide callers until help arrives.
“When people call 911, they depend on us to respond immediately but I do not think they realize what is going on in the background,” said Lt. David Nabors. “(Dispatchers) are asking those questions for a reason.”
Dispatchers in Rowlett are trained and certified in EMD. The software they use gives the dispatcher a dialogue to follow based on the emergency and the caller’s responses to questions.
“It is essentially a decision tree,” said Nabors.
In this case, the dispatcher was able to guide Ogg through CPR. He is heard telling her to place two fingers on Logan’s breastbone and to start compressions, allowing his chest to rise between each compression.
“Nothing can prepare you for doing CPR on an infant,” Ogg said. “Having that person in our ear saying it is going to be okay, this is what you do, made all the difference in saving his life.”
Logan’s family does not know the stranger who was on the other end of the phone line but said they are forever appreciative for his voice telling them what to do.
“He was the voice of reason we needed.”