When you call 911, you expect someone to answer.
That didn't happen at 6:45 a.m. on May 4, 2003. A Brackendale resident needed an ambulance that Sunday morning because his wife was seriously ill.
The man placed five calls to 911 and none were answered.
The RCMP released details of the incident this week after details of the situation became public. Vancouver television stations were alerted of the incident and two camera crews came to Squamish looking for details.
S/Sgt. Cliff Doherty prepared a news release to explain the RCMP's actions.Doherty confirmed for The Chief that the woman who needed the ambulance later died however he noted that the RCMP was never told if the missed 911 played a directly contributed to the death.
"We don't know for certain what the medical condition was, we just know there was a death," Doherty said.
The RCMP reported in the Jan. 27 news release that there was an investigation into the missed calls.
"The telecommunications operator upon recognizing these calls had been received, called the number which was busy and immediately contacted Telus to break into the call, learn the situation and reroute the caller to BCAS Dispatch," Doherty wrote. "The investigation determined this was an isolated incident involving one employee and an internal discipline process has been conducted. As a result of this occurring, adjustments were made to the telecommunications training program to ensure this situation does not occur again and all dispatch centre employees were refreshed on the standard operating procedures."
Doherty said that one television report included misinformation. At least one report indicated that the civilian employee who missed the calls was suspended without pay for 10-days.
Doherty wouldn't say what action was taken against the worker.
"We dealt with it quickly and swiftly back in May and June 2003," Doherty said. "We were very quick with the internal investigation. These situations are emotional."