Palouse Reporter Rachel Dubrovin introduces us to the dispatcher and explains how her quick thinking prevented a tragedy.
"Police and fire, this is Haley," said Whitcom 911 Dispatcher Haley Emery.
Whitcom is the 911 dispatch center for many emergency response agencies in Whitman County, Asotin County and Moscow.
"We're just the very beginning," said Emery.
"Usually when they're calling you, it's the worst day of their life," said Whitcom Operations Manager Wendy Berrett. "You know, they're not calling you because they're having a great day."
And for dispatcher Haley Emery, one day is particularly memorable. On October 22nd, she took a call and couldn't hear anyone on the other line.
"You kind of get a gut feeling, and instantly I knew something was different from a normal, just pocket dial," said Emery.
Emery asked the caller to push a button if they were experiencing an emergency.
"The patient immediately pushed a button, so I knew that something was wrong," said Emery.
Even though the caller I-D only showed a phone number… Emery was able to link it to an address from a previous call and send Moscow paramedics to the correct location.
"And just started asking questions like, 'Is this your address? If so, push a button so I know,'" said Emery.
Moscow paramedics confirmed that the woman lived.
"That caller had trouble communicating," said Moscow Volunteer Fire Department EMS Division Chief David Reynolds. "And that trouble was from a medical condition. So the dispatcher had to be really creative to figure out what the problem was, and where the caller was, and kind of sort through, not the greatest information to get the right result."
"It happened so fast that even after I hung up, I almost didn't even know what I had just done and what my fellow dispatchers had just done because it went really fast," said Emery.
It was a stressful situation… with a happy ending… thanks to this dispatcher's quick thinking.
"We have a very important job, and we have a lot of great dispatchers," said Berrett. "And we're really lucky."
The Whitcom headquarters is located in Pullman, and they provide service to more than 50 local agencies.