The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) has responded to a Facebook post where the user who went by the name Pam Kaur complained about a 995 responder who hung up on her because of Kaur’s tone when she called to report an accident.
In her Facebook post on May 8, Kaur said the responder stank of “incompetence”, a “lack of urgency” as well as of “stupidity” after she had called Kaur again, asking her to repeat the lamp post number which she provided earlier.
In a Facebook post today (May 14), the SCDF said that the caller had provided the wrong location that the accident took place along the Pan-Island Expressway (PIE) when it was actually along the Central Expressway (CTE).
Because of the wrong information provided, the SCDF ambulance that was dispatched could not locate the accident along the PIE, said SCDF.
“This prompted the paramedic in the ambulance to contact the caller to verify the exit and lamppost number, as these were essential reference points,” added SCDF on its post. “This seemed to frustrate the caller who made snide remarks towards the paramedic.”
The paramedic then replied that she was uncomfortable with the tone of the caller, and subsequently disengaged from the call to focus the crew’s attention on locating the accident, added SCDF.
The agency said that it managed to established the correct location of the accident after receiving a subsequent report from another caller on the same accident.
The SCDF ambulance that was dispatched for this call arrived at the scene within eight minutes, and subsequently conveyed a man to Tan Tock Seng Hospital.
The agency said that it takes a serious view of such feedback and it immediately started an investigation into this case where recordings of the conversation between the caller and the SCDF officer were reviewed.
“The audio recording from an in-vehicle camera within the SCDF ambulance found that the paramedic had remained calm and polite with the caller throughout, even at the point when she said that she was not comfortable with the caller’s tone and subsequently disengaged the call,” said SCDF.
The agency said that it is an established and sound procedure for 995 call centre operators to ask callers for key information such as prominent landmarks, expressways and lamp post numbers for example, especially when there is no specific address.
“At times, we may also need to further clarify the information, particularly when our responders are unable to locate the reported incident. We seek the public’s understanding and patience about this,” said SCDF.
“We commend the public-spiritedness of the callers who had stopped to assist and call 995 upon witnessing the accident.”
It added that to further assist the accurate deployment of SCDF’s resources, members of the public are encouraged to call 995 using SCDF’s myResponder mobile application, which has geolocation technology to automatically determine a caller’s location.