I-Team: Councilman proposes ordinance to make it illegal for untrained dispatchers to answer 911

CINCINNATI - A law has been proposed to make it illegal for someone without medical training to answer a 911 call in Cincinnati.

Cincinnati City Councilmember Charlie Winburn responded immediately after our first I-Team investigation that revealed untrained dispatchers working 16-hour shifts were answering life and death 911 calls in the city.

"Citizens who were experiencing cardiac arrest and emergency medical situations were at the hands of dispatchers and operators who could not help them," Winburn said .

Cincinnati lifted its hiring freeze and began fully training all its current dispatchers after the I-Team investigation first aired. Now Winburn says he has the votes to pass a new ordinance making it illegal for an untrained person to pick up the phone when you dial 911 in Cincinnati.

"Never again with a dispatcher or operator disconnect a citizen of the city of Cincinnati, or a visitor to the city of Cincinnati, who needs emergency medical attention," Winburn added.

Rhonda Andrews was someone who lived through a call to a medically untrained dispatcher when she had a heart attack, and after speaking out, she may help change the law.

"I will have to call them again," Andrews said. "And I would like a trained person on the other end to talk to my sister, or my mother, or my little girl... to tell her what to do with her mom."

Andrews had to wait seven minutes for help when an ambulance finally arrived because the dispatcher who answered the phone was not medically trained.

Two Cincinnati police dispatchers who spoke exclusively and anonymously with the I-Team said they routinely answer 911 calls with no medical training

"It's agonizing. I want to apologize, sometimes," one of the dispatchers said.

Winburn credited 9 On Your Side and WCPO Digital for bringing the crisis to the attention of city council. "I want to thank Channel 9, because as a result of Channel 9, you were able to create a new law in the city of Cincinnati," Winburn said.

It's not law yet. Winburn plans to introduce the proposed ordinance Tuesday morning. He believes he has the votes to suspend the rules and get the new law passed on an emergency basis as soon as council returns from its summer recess.

Read the full 911 roulette investigation at http://www.wcpo.com/generic/news/local_news/city-budget-safety .

Read the proposed ordinance below or at http://goo.gl/7O2dWs.




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