DEM’s 9-1-1 Dispatchers of the Month: The 2012 Round-up
As National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week continues, we want to highlight the extraordinary work conducted by our 9-1-1 dispatchers throughout 2012. And tomorrow, look for a recap blog of the Dispatcher of the Year Award (who was selected from one of the 2012 DEM 9-1-1 Dispatchers of the Month, listed below).
January 2012–Jasmine Pomeroy
On December 10, 2011 there was a multi-residential structure fire on Ellis Street. Residents were instructed to stay in their apartments as San Francisco fire fighters worked to extinguish the fire. Many calls were made to 9-1-1 dispatch but one call was made by a panic-stricken woman whose apartment was filling with smoke. Jasmine Pomery received this call and reassured the woman that help was on the way and gave firm instructions to stay in her apartment. For nearly 18 minutes, Jasmine provided clear, consistent and comforting words to keep the caller calm until help arrived.
February 2012– Megan Wu
While working the radio channel, Megan Wu dispatched police to a female caller who reported a man tried to pull her into his vehicle after asking him for directions. Although the assailant stole her computer, the caller was able to escape unharmed. While Megan worked with police on the radio channel, street officers were able to spot the assailant’s vehicle and began pursuit. The driver of the vehicle led police on a multi-district, high-speed chase that lasted nearly 14 minutes. During the pursuit several accidents occurred, including a police officer hitting a parked vehicle, and the assailant hitting a pedestrian in a wheelchair and a moving vehicle. The subject fled from his vehicle on foot. Soon after, he was apprehended by police without further incident. Megan handled these series accidents by opening up citywide channels all the while maintaining control of radio traffic and keeping abreast of the constantly changing locations. Her calm and controlled demeanor maintained order and helped the officers involved remain safe.
March 2012– Dawn Mahoney
Dawn Mahoney received a call reporting that an elderly female was unconscious and not breathing. Dawn wasted no time and arranged for medical assistance to go to the scene. Then Dawn told the caller to move the unconscious woman to the floor and provided detailed instructions to conduct CPR. At the beginning of the call the patient was not breathing, but soon after Dawn’s life saving instructions she regained consciousness and soon could be heard in the background talking. Because of Dawn’s clear, concise and methodical instructions, the elderly woman’s life was saved.
April 2012– Ron Davis
On February 22, 2012 Ron Davis received a call from a distraught female whose primary language was not English. Working through the language barrier, Ron was able to ascertain the caller’s location, telephone number and that she was calling on behalf of her mother who was not breathing. Ron was able to provide clear instructions to administer CPR on the panic-stricken caller’s mother and Ron remained on the line until paramedics arrived.
May 2012– Estela Moran
On March 23, 2012 Estela Moran received a California Highway Patrol transfer call reporting three to four deceased individuals in a nearby residence. Upon entry into the residence the caller reported that there were several people dead in the home, with signs indicating that a violent criminal act had taken place. This event is being described as one of the worst criminal acts in San Francisco history and Estella conducted herself in a focused and professional manner to allow for appropriate dispatch of resources to the scene.
June 2012– Karen Guevara
While monitoring a police radio channel, Karen Guevara heard a police officer report shots being fired at police officers in the area of Post and Leavenworth Streets. It was determined that the subject was suspected of murdering his mother and escaping in her vehicle. This case immediately became a critical incident as the suspect continued to fire his weapon at police officers. He also sprayed an unknown chemical into the building he was occupying and started numerous small fires to deter police officers. The magnitude of this incident was immense; nonetheless Karen remained calm, collected and professional. She echoed officers when it was appropriate and stayed off the air when the situation warranted it. This was a highly stressful and volatile incident for all responders. But with much precision and calculation the incident was brought to a close, and the suspect was apprehended with no injuries to the public.
July 2012– Marianne Gaviola
On May 28, 2012 Marianne Gaviola received a call from a young child reporting that his mother was having a baby. Marianne quickly obtained the address, telephone number, the patient’s age and her breathing status. Very early in the call the child reported that the baby was crowning, at which time the child became very anxious and pleaded with Marianne “to hurry.” As Marianne dispatched paramedics to the scene, the child reported that the baby had been delivered. When asking to speak to an adult, the child told Marianne he was the only one in the household who spoke English. Marianne continued to give instructions while having the child translate–all the while keeping him calm and reassured that help was on the way.
August 2012– Justin Wong
On June 29, 2012 Justin Wong received a call reporting that a woman had fallen from the rooftop of a three-story building and landed in an adjacent alley. Justin immediately obtained the address and dispatched medical resources to the scene. Although the woman suffered multiple injuries, she survived and sent a letter of gratitude to the San Francisco Fire Department, San Francisco Police Department, and each 9-1-1 dispatcher who responded to her accident and “believed her life was saved in part due to the swift response and expert attention.”
September 2012– Janet Atchan
On August 27, 2012 Janet Atchan received call reporting an armed robbery. Within moments, officers reported seeing the suspect fleeing the scene and Janet arranged for numerous units to respond. The scene escalated with shots fired, and an officer down. Things became very hectic; nevertheless, Janet remained focused and immediately updated field units as information became available. Janet remained poised and controlled, while relaying necessary information as she made certain that the injured officer received medical assistance.
October 2012– Frances Rohwer
On September 9, 2012 Frances Rohwer received a call from a U.S. Park Ranger dispatch requesting that the San Francisco Police Department assist with an aggressive homeless person. Once police arrived on scene it was determined that the suspect had assaulted the Park Ranger and was armed with some type of weapon. The suspect fled into a heavy brush area of the park and once police made contact with him he became more aggressive and resisted arrest. Because of the heavy brush, the officer had a difficult time providing the exact location for back-up to respond to, which created chaos and uncertainties. Regardless, Frances maintained composed and controlled the radio traffic while keeping track of who was responding and from what part of the City.
November 2012– Josu Garmendia-Irastorza
Josu-Garmendia-Irastorza received the honor of Dispatcher of the Month for his ever consistent reliability and positive and productive contributions to the DEM 9-1-1 dispatcher community. He is a strong and reliable member of the department and he consistently demonstrates a high level of initiative and problem solving solutions.
December 2012– Corinina Cruz
On November 26, 2012 Corinina Cruz received a call from a father reporting his son was suicidal, armed with a gun and driving a stolen vehicle. As the officers arrived on scene they could see the subject leaving in a vehicle. The officers followed the vehicle and soon after the subject fired his weapon. The chase began on city streets, taking the freeway and eventually ending on Treasure Island. The armed subject held a gun to his head during the chase and eventually exited onto Treasure Island where he continued to pose threats to police officers and himself. A hostage negotiator was summoned to the scene. Following numerous hours of negotiations the subject ended his own life. This was a very volatile incident that had potential risk to the lives of many. Corinina handled every aspect professionally, while remaining calm and poised during this unstable and unpredictable scene.