A routine call to Dothan Police recently resulted in two lives saved thanks to the discernment of a dispatcher.
Dispatchers often receive calls asking for help with elderly people who have fallen. The patient is typically unable to help themselves, and others living at home may not be able to render help.
The calls are known as “lift assist” calls. Dispatchers receive those calls frequently and call first responders to the address. Usually, medics simply need to help the patient back to their feet or a nearby chair.
This time, something was different.
City of Dothan Telecommunicator Tori Garrett received a lift assist call recently, but determined something didn’t seem routine about the call. A distressed voice, or signs of weakness or other indicators soon led Garrett to believe further assistance was needed.
Garrett dispatched personnel who soon discovered two residents inside the home were suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning. Coughing, nausea, shortness of breath, confusion, and dizziness can all be symptoms.
The residents were given treatment and fully recovered.
Garrett was presented a Lifesaver Award Tuesday during the Dothan City Commission meeting.
“Tori instinctively recognized there was something more to the call,” Dothan Fire Department Battalion Chief Sean Gibson said. “Because she upgraded the call, responders were able to help save not only one person, but two people.”
Also recognized during Tuesday’s meeting were Dothan firefighter Steven Romo (John T. Ingram EMT of the Year) and Dothan firefighter Jeffery Donner (Paramedic of the Year).
Also recognized Tuesday were Mike Mixon and Shanda Sanders of Dothan Ambulance Service, who were dispatched to a medical call recently only to notice a plume of smoke in the distance. The duo dispatched a separate unit to the medical call and investigated a structure fire. When the Dothan Fire Department arrived, Mixon and Sanders were able to give firefighters vital information because they noticed a television on inside the home.
“They knew, with a television on inside, there was a high likelihood that someone was in there,” Gibson said. “They were able to give our battalion chief important information that allowed him to make a fast strategic decision that resulted in the resident being rescued from the home.”
Sanders and Mixon were recognized but unable to attend Tuesday’s meeting.