WRC-TV in Washington aired a story last night about a 911 call for trouble breathing in Montgomery County, Maryland where the call taker fell asleep. The News4 I-Team story by Tisha Thompson and Rick Yarborough says the dispatcher is a veteran uniformed firefighter who was in the 17th hour of a 24-hour shift on overtime and can be heard snoring on the recording of that 911 call (above).
“The employee was immediately removed from the floor by his supervisor that night and placed on administrative leave with pay pending the inquiry,” Montgomery County Assistant Fire Chief Scott Graham said.
The News4 I-Team found Montgomery County dispatchers work twice as long as other dispatchers in the D.C. area. In Fairfax County, dispatchers work 12.5-hour shifts. In Prince George’s County they work a 12-hour shift. The District has a 10-hour shift.
(IAFF Local 1664 Vice President Jeffrey) Buddle said while a 24-hour shift “may seem like a long shift to someone who’s not used to that schedule, it’s something that’s just normal for a firefighter to work.”
Both he and Graham say this is the first time someone has fallen asleep during a 24-hour shift.