Emergency dispatch instructors to use Newtown 911 tapes in train - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Emergency dispatch instructors to use Newtown 911 tapes in training

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NEW ORLEANS - The release of Newtown 911 recordings Wednesday provides emergency dispatchers with a unique training tool.

While listening to a whirlwind of terror through the phone, 911 operators say giving calm directions and asking specific questions can be lifesaving.

Those who train dispatchers locally say the Newtown crew did it just right.

Terry Ebbert is chairman of the Orleans Parish 911 Call Center Board and former director of Homeland Security for New Orleans. He now trains people in emergency preparedness. Ebbert says the Newtown tapes are filled with impressive examples of professionalism on the dispatch side as well as those calling from within the school.

"The two that I heard on the voice were able to maintain their composure, take directions, give direct information, and it was a great exchange in a very, very bad situation," said Ebbert.

While depicting a nightmare, the tapes also provide valuable lessons that Terrebonne Parish 911 Director Mark Boudreaux plans to use in the Active Shooter Public Safety Course he teaches through the International Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials.

"Yes, we will use this in our training," said Boudreaux. "These are real-life scenarios that occur."

This past summer, Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes acted out a school shooting scenario so law enforcement, teachers and 911 dispatchers could understand how best to work together through a complex and dangerous task.

"It's really assisted us in understanding, this is what happens when you're there. You've got to remember, a telecommunicator doesn't see anything. For a 911 call taker, every thing's on the phone. So we don't see anything, we hear everything," said Boudreaux.

Without being able to see the situation, tapes like those from Newtown show how dispatchers' questions can help paint a picture for law enforcement.

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