Calling 911 is a stressful situation for anyone, although a Maryland woman is probably one of the first people to become even more stressed out by a sleeping 911 dispatcher on the other end of her line.
The female caller dialed 911 in April to ask for an ambulance after she realized her husband could not breath, she was then transferred to a 911 ambulance dispatcher who was sleeping on the other side of the call.
The Maryland caller realized the operator was sleeping because they were also snoring.
When the original operator realized something was wrong with the call they broke back into the conversation and directed the female caller to a second dispatcher.
Even as the second dispatcher gave the 911 caller the assistance she needed the original dispatcher could be heard snoring 18 times in the background before finally waking up.
According to Montgomery County officials the sleeping dispatcher was a firefighter was was 17 hours into a 24-hour shift. That firefighter is now on leave as officials investigate any negligence on the part of the 911 team member.
In what might be the only positive news to report from the call, the female caller was able to get her husband the help he needed and he is doing fine.
911 dispatching has consistently been ranked as one of the most stressful jobs a person can work, almost on par with air traffic controllers, I can only imagine that the stress of a 24 hour shift could make anyone feel the need for a nap.
Should the dispatcher be fired or should the department better staff their positions to avoid triple shifts that lead to accidentally sleeping dispatchers?