A 9-1-1 team in Oklahoma is being lauded during National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week for saving the life of a woman 4,000 miles away.
During the early hours of March 2, the distressed woman called the seven-digit, non-emergency number for the Oklahoma City dispatch.
“She was suicidal, had a gun and said she was going to kill herself,” David Shupe, director of 9-1-1 services, said. “Her biggest concern was making sure someone was contacted so her child would be OK. She said repeatedly she was trying to get out of the life of prostitution.”
Shupe said he had no idea how the woman got the number for emergency services or what, if any, her familiarity with Oklahoma City was, but his dispatchers knew they needed to help.
Because she called the seven-digit number instead of 9-1-1, dispatchers were unable to track her location. “We managed ultimately to keep her on the phone for 30 minutes,” he said.
During that time, the 9-1-1 supervisor contacted AT&T, which traced the call to the Isle of Man in the Irish Sea. The supervisor then contacted their police department, which, in turn, was able to trace the call to Dublin, Shupe said.
Police visited the woman’s home where they found her with a stab wound to the arm. She was transported to a hospital for treatment.
“This was a pretty interesting piece of work from our perspective,” Shupe said. “We don’t typically get involved with overseas departments. It was pretty innovative how the supervisor handled it.”