From Dudley Evans at BBB TV – Concerns have emerged regarding the 911 dispatch system’s timely response in South Roane County, specifically about the dispatching of fire department first responders to emergency calls. According to an anonymous source monitoring 911 calls, there were significant delays in dispatching first responders to multiple CPR incidents this past weekend.

The source reported that several CPR calls, particularly in the South Roane County area, experienced delays of approximately seven minutes before first responders were paged, despite the EMS being dispatched immediately. These incidents included a distressing drowning case involving a seven-year-old child, where CPR was already in progress, and two other CPR calls in the same district. The source emphasized that the fire department should have been paged immediately in such critical situations.

In response to these concerns, we spoke with Tim Suiter, the EMA Director, who provided clarification on the matter. Director Suiter confirmed that the calls in question occurred in South Roane County. He explained that the first responder units in this department are not certified to handle medical calls, which is why they were not dispatched.

“There were no fatalities in these incidents,” Suiter assured. “In the case of the seven-year-old drowning, the mother performed CPR, and the child was alert and oriented when EMS arrived. The other CPR call also did not result in a fatality.”

Director Suiter highlighted that other areas such as East Roane County, Blair, and West Roane County have volunteer departments that are first responder certified and are equipped to handle medical calls. However, South Roane County currently lacks this certification. He emphasized that this was the reason why the fire department in South Roane County were not paged for the recent CPR incidents.

“This is something we will be looking into in the future,” Suiter stated. “However, all protocols were followed according to the 911 dispatch operations manual.”

While the EMA Director assures that all protocols were correctly followed, the delay in dispatching first responders has raised concerns about the current capabilities and certification status of South Roane County’s emergency response teams. The community is hopeful that steps will be taken to ensure quicker and more comprehensive responses in the future, especially for life-threatening emergencies like those involving CPR.

For now, the situation highlights the importance of having certified first responder units across all districts to provide timely and effective medical assistance during emergencies. The EMA’s commitment to reviewing and potentially updating their protocols is a positive step towards improving the overall emergency response system in Roane County.

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