Agustin Navarrete-Guerrero was closing his car windows at a construction site; Larry Webb was casting his fishing pole from the shore at the edge of a lake; Thomas Coburn Wartell was riding his motorcycle along a highway; James Donald McDaniel was picking blueberries from a patch; and Marguerite Tomany and Marianne Povell Melllnick were walking along the beach.
What do all these people have in common?
They were among the 24 people in the United States who were in the wrong place when lightning struck during 2014.1 While no region of the country is immune to thunderstorms, the Southern states have the highest thunderstorm activity and, generally, the highest number of lightning-related fatalities.
Much like the county’s namesake, Boone County Public Safety Joint Communications embodies the intrepid, trailblazing spirit of American pioneer, explorer, and frontiersman Daniel Boone. ‘Course that doesn’t mean the center’s dispatchers roam the call center toting Kentucky long rifles and donning coonskin caps.
The Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) was one of the first 9-1-1 communication centers in the state of Missouri to adopt the Fire Priority Dispatch System™ (FPDS®) and is also the first and only center in the state to achieve fire Accredited Center of Excellence (ACE) status. More recently, the Boone County center also became the first dual-ACE in the state with medical and fire accreditation.
On April 15, 2013, two brothers allegedly walked within yards of the finish line of the Boston Marathon unchallenged by security, dropped two bags containing pressure cooker bombs, and strolled away moments before they exploded. Three people were killed and hundreds more suffered serious injuries. At least 17 people lost a leg, including a 27-year-old Texas woman who underwent surgery to amputate her left leg below the knee in November 2014, ⎯nearly 19 months after the attack, ⎯because of persistent and acute neurological pain.
Greater Boston shut down the Friday following the marathon bombings while authorities hunted down the suspects. A year later, police departments from New Jersey sent SWAT units, bomb squads, aerial surveillance, and K-9 teams to secure the area for the 2014 Boston Marathon.
No system, no matter how robust, can cover every possibility, and that’s why the protocol systems are so dependent on user feedback, statistical evidence, experience, and trending to provide the best immediate chain of questioning and instruction for incidents more likely to happen and the array of possibilities within an incident type.
At least that’s until a call potentially provides an exception to the rule, illuminating an occasion by the very event to modify a specific protocol or set of Pre-Arrival or Post-Dispatch Instructions (PAIs/PDIs).