SCDF refutes claim of ‘incompetence’ by caller who reported road accident, says wrong information given

SCDF SURVEY RESULTS

The SCDF’s 995 call center had received a call about a road traffic accident on May 8 at approximately 02.37, reported by the caller to be along the Pan-Island Expressway (PIE) towards Changi before exit 8B.

The call center operator repeated the reported location of the caller for verification and then asked for further details such as the nature of the injuries sustained by the motorcyclist.

When asked about the number on the lamppost closest to the accident, the caller said “370F”.

The operator then tried to verify the direction of the PIE where the accident was, to which the caller replied, “my exit towards Changi but I go straight towards CTE, but the lamp post number is 370F”.

“The operator then assured the caller that the ambulance was already on its way and thanked him,” the SCDF said.

Based on the information from the caller, the ambulance could not locate the accident, which led the ambulance staff to contact the caller to verify the exit and the number of the lamppost, which are important reference points.

The second call “seemed to frustrate” the caller who made “tricky comments” against the ambulance staff, the SCDF said.

The ambulance staff then told the caller that she was uncomfortable with the tone and then disconnected the call to focus the crew’s attention on locating the accident, it added.

The SCDF later determined that the accident instead occurred along the Central Expressway (CTE) toward the Seletar Expressway (SLE), before the PIE exit, after receiving a subsequent report of the same accident from another caller.

The ambulance arrived at the scene within eight minutes and took a man to Tan Tock Seng Hospital, says SCDF.

“There were no other accidents around the original location reported by the caller, or the actual location, during that time period,” the SCDF added.

SCDF’S INVESTIGATION OF THE CASE

In its review of the first call, SCDF said that the call center operator had sent the ambulance based on the first information from the caller.

The SCDF noted that the ambulance staff who made the follow-up call “had remained calm and polite to the caller at all times, even at the time when she said she was not comfortable with the caller’s tone and then disconnected the caller”.

“We commend the public spirituality of the callers who had stopped to help and called 995 when they witnessed the accident,” the SCDF said.

“We want to emphasize that it is an established and sound procedure for 995 call center operators to ask those calling for key information such as prominent landmarks, building names, highways, road names and lampposts, especially when there is no specific address.

“In some cases, we may also need to clarify the information further, especially when our rescue personnel are unable to locate the reported incident. We ask for the public’s understanding and patience in this regard.”

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