To the Editor:
I was quite disturbed to read the Department of Public Safety is seriously considering the consolidation of 9-1-1 call centers. Let me tell you why.
Last year, while driving by the Bristol swimming hole, my husband and I heard a blood-curdling scream. We quickly turned around and went back to the swimming area. A mother was screaming and screaming. Her 7-year-old son had fallen over the falls, several feet down, onto the rocks below. My husband immediately went to find the boy while I called 9-1-1.
Unfortunately, the call did not go to Wiscasset but to Augusta. The next few minutes were frightening and frustrating to say the least. The woman on the other end took my call. I gave her the scenario and asked for help immediately. She said she would call it out as soon as I gave her the address. I told her there was no address, it was the local swimming hole. She kept insisting that she needed an address.
I told her that everyone in Lincoln County knew the Bristol swimming hole and I was pretty sure that no mail ever went there. I kept asking her to call it out; time was precious; I did not know how injured the child was; if he was drowning.
Finally, I said, “Lady, call it out now!”
She toned it out and got back on the phone still asking for an address. She kept arguing with me. Gratefully, the swimming hole is near to the local fire station and we got help in just a couple of minutes. I told her I was hanging up because the firemen had arrived. I was so angry at the loss of time I could barely speak.
This shows me exactly why we should not close down local call centers. People who work there know the area, know the people and can do the job better, quicker and will save lives. Isn’t that the purpose of the Dept. of Public Safety?
I guarantee that lives, health and welfare of those living in rural areas will have a faster EMS/fire/police response with local people working at call centers. It saves lives. Centralizing the centers will save money but will cost lives.
I heartily recommend the Commissioner re-consider or at the very least, maybe hold a couple of public forums to find the will of citizens.
To the Editor: