911 Dispatcher: Red Flags Raised Before Botched Call

HANOVER TOWNSHIP — A union representative said workers tried warning Luzerne County officials about staffing issues and other problems at the 911 center, years before a botched dispatch that happened during a house fire back in May.

Luzerne County officials released a statement on Tuesday that said human error was to blame for firefighters being sent to the wrong community during the deadly fire, not technical problems with the dispatch or phone system.

Union Steward Robert Bomboy told Newswatch 16 that his report found that staffing levels, turnover, training, and other issues also contributed.

According to Bomboy, at least eight workers were involved in the incident, but only one dispatcher was suspended and another was fired.

“It’s a tragedy. We don’t want to see it happen,” said Bomboy. “The person [who was fired] is one of those people who truly cared, cares about their job to do it well, to the best of their abilities and it was an unfortunate mistake.”

A report posted on Luzerne County’s website identified the fired dispatcher as Debra Pac.

Luzerne County officials have not responded to the union’s claims, or said how many people are working at the 911 center in Hanover Township.

12 comments

  • Schuylkill 911

    They should look at Schuylkill County we are understaffed also and a accident waiting to happen. Working multiple double shifts a week and management doesn’t care

  • CBP

    Back before the county went 911 I worked there & not only did we dispatch for luzerne county, we also had multiple departments from Carbon, Lackawanna & Wyoming counties. And no we didn’t run around like chickens with our heads cut off. If you think it’s that easy, go down & put an application in.

  • mytwocents

    They are severely understaffed, and Terri is right, most are working 12-16 hour shifts 3+ days a week. But this has been an issue for years! Luzerne county is the 7th largest county in PA. taking calls and dispatching police, Ems, and fire and some of the lowest paid.

  • Tammy

    Last week I spent a minute and a half on hold with 911 at 3 in the morning. That minute and a half did make a difference in this situation!!

  • Terri

    They are horribly under staffed.. I have friends there and they are working 16 hour days 3-4 days a week…. you can’t not be on top of your game 24/7 .especially being worked so much !!!

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