Lead dispatchers Chanel Waples and Zach Slattery were both awarded the Lifesaving Award for taking extra steps when receiving 911 calls from citizens of Helena and Lewis and Clark County.
Chanel got a call from a distraught teenager who said she had overdosed on medication and wanted to tell someone goodbye and then she hung up. Chanel tried to locate her but didn't have any other details, but she did not give up.
“I knew she was in trouble just by how she was. I wasn't satisfied with that was it,” says Chanel, the Lead Dispatcher for Lewis and Clark County. “I was not satisfied that these traditional means are just not working. I knew there was something more it was just a matter of finding what that something more was.”
Chanel finally decided to utilize RAPIDSOS, a program in testing phase at the 911 Center. An address was obtained, and officers and medical units finally were able to respond. The female was placed into protective custody and treated at the hospital for an overdose of pain medication.
Zach was honored for helping a resident of Lincoln, whose husband had a seizure and quit breathing. He was able to coach the wife through CPR, which would ultimately save his life.
“You never get to know the outcome of most of our calls,” says Zach Slattery the Lead Public Safety Telecommunicator for Lewis & Clark County. “It's just part of the job. You always have to move on to the next call. So when I was told by our supervisor the outcome of this I was very surprised. That was actually a big enough award for me.”
This wasn’t Zach’s first time walking someone through CPR, in his 12 years of being a dispatcher, but it was his first time being able to meet the family face to face after the call. He said it was very emotional after meeting them because a lot of times they are just a voice on the other end of the phone.
But Zach made sure to credit all of the responders involved. And of course, giving credit to the wife and all of the incredible work she did. Both of these brave dispatchers were honored with a short ceremony, where they celebrated with their friends and families.