911 dispatcher has trouble locating casino site

The first thing a 911 dispatcher is trained to ask is: "911, what's the address of your emergency?"

But determining the location can be a challenge for not only the caller but the dispatcher. The morning of the casino collapse, which injured 13 and launched an OSHA investigation, multiple calls flooded Cincinnati Emergency Communications. One unidentified dispatcher had a harder time than others locating the casino.

911 transcript:

Dispatcher: "9-1-1, what's the address of your emergency?"

Caller: "Casino, Horseshoe Casino, big floor fell down, we got eight guys down."

Dispatcher: "Okay sir."

Caller: "Downtown Cincinnati."

Dispatcher: "Alright. What's the location?"

Caller: "Downtown Cincinnati, Horseshoe Casino. We got eight guys down, pinned underneath beams and everything else, dude we need them bad."

Dispatcher: "Okay, what's the location where the Horseshoe Casino is sir?"

Caller: "It's downtown. Wait a minute, what street are we on?"

Caller: "Gilbert. Gilbert Ave.

Dispatcher: "Uh-huh."

Caller: "What else? What other road are we on? By the Justice Center."

Dispatcher: "Okay. Gilbert and Court Street and what? I'm not sure sir."

Cincinnati's Emergency Communications Manager, Joel Estes, says he is not surprised the dispatcher did not know the exact location and does not expect employees to know all the cross streets at a major location like the casino.

"I don't know it's necessarily an issue of them not knowing where the casino is but it's such a large area there's so many ways to access that area," says Estes.

Dispatchers do undergo an intense testing and training period ranging from six to nine months before fielding their first 911 call.

Despite a lack of staff, the communications center was fully staffed the morning of the collapse and were able to get Cincinnati Police and Fire to the scene as quickly as possible.

"The good thing for the dispatchers were they didn't necessarily know what the address was but by them putting it out over the air right away where the casino was, we knew where it was and we can start heading that way," says Cincinnati Fire District Chief Greg Potter.

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