Paramedic who disengaged 995 call 'remained calm and polite throughout': SCDF

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Pam Kaur, a 995 caller, said the SCDF operator hung up on her during an emergency call. (PHOTO: PAM KAUR/SINGAPORE ROADS ACCIDENT.COM/FACEBOOK)
Pam Kaur, a 995 caller, said the SCDF operator hung up on her during an emergency call. (PHOTO: PAM KAUR/SINGAPORE ROADS ACCIDENT.COM/FACEBOOK)

The paramedic who was on the line with a 995 caller and subsequently disengaged was calm and polite throughout, the Singapore Civil Defence Force said in a statement on Saturday (14 May).

The SCDF statement came after it had completed its investigation into the incident, which had been shared in a post on the Facebook page of Singapore roads last Sunday.

In the widely-shared post, user Pam Kaur claimed to have come across a road traffic accident involving a motorcyclist who was thrown off his vehicle after being hit by a car on the Central Expressway (CTE).

According to Kaur, information on the location, which included the lamppost number, had been shared with the SCDF, only for the SCDF operator to call back asking for the same information.

SCDF's investigation

The SCDF, in its statement, said the location was reported by the caller to be along the Pan-Island Expressway (PIE) towards Changi before Exit 8B.

"The 995 call centre operator repeated the reported location to the caller for verification. Subsequently, the operator asked for further details such as the nature of the injuries sustained by the motorcyclist and the number of the lamppost nearest the accident, to which the caller said, '370F'," the SCDF said.

It added that towards the end of the call, the SCDF operator had attempted to verify the direction on the PIE where the accident had happened, to which the caller replied, 'my exit towards Changi but I’m going straight towards CTE, but the lamppost number is 370F'.

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

However, "based on the information provided by the caller", the SCDF ambulance that had been dispatched was unable locate the accident.

"This prompted the paramedic in the ambulance to contact the caller to verify the exit and lamppost number, as these were essential reference points," the SCDF said. "This seemed to frustrate the caller who made snide remarks towards the paramedic."

According to the SCDF, the paramedic then replied to the caller 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".

Reviewing the follow-up call initiated by the paramedic, the SCDF said audio recording from an in-vehicle camera within the ambulance showed 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".

The SCDF later established that the accident had happened along the CTE towards the Seletar Expressway, before the PIE exit, 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 8 minutes, and subsequently conveyed a man to Tan Tock Seng Hospital," the SCDF said, adding that "there were no other accidents around the initial location reported by the caller, or the actual location, during that period of time".

SCDF seeks public’s understanding and patience

The SCDF said it commended the "public-spiritedness of the callers who had stopped to assist and call 995 upon witnessing the accident".

"We would like to highlight that it is an established and sound procedure for 995 call centre operators to ask callers for key information such as prominent landmarks, building names, expressways, road names and lamppost numbers, especially when there is no specific address," the SCDF said.

"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."

The SCDF also encouraged members of the public to call 995 using SCDF's myResponder mobile application, which has "geolocation technology to automatically determine a caller’s location".

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