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What To Do When A Baby Is In Distress: Dispatchers Guide Mom Whose Infant ‘Isn’t Breathing Right’

De-escalation is a big part of the job for emergency dispatchers, as seen in "911 Crisis Center."

Emergency dispatchers featured in 911 Crisis Center

A public shoot-out. A baby in distress. A robber who resembled Rambo. These issues and more were all in a day’s work at Chagrin Valley Dispatch, whose staff is featured in “911 Crisis Center,” airing Saturdays at 9/8c on Oxygen.

In the latest episode, operators fielded a number of calls about a gas-station gunfight that left a victim with a wounded foot. Dispatchers learned that the shots were tied to an attempted carjacking, and that the victim had a CCW permit and returned fire. 

“When we receive calls for shots fired conflicting information is something that happens all the time,” said dispatcher Melinda Pilat. “We take as much information from as many people as possible.”

Witnesses identified the shooter, and a warrant for aggravated robbery was issued for his arrest. 

During the same shift, callers reported a disturbance at a beverage store: Witnesses said a man knocked over and stole merchandise. The suspect — who wasn’t wearing a shirt and “looked like Rambo” — also punched the store owner in the face, callers said. The man was arrested and charged with robbery, while the employee was treated at the scene.

In another call, a panicked woman told dispatchers that her brother was armed with a knife and threatening to come into her home. “It’s getting crazy,” she told dispatchers.

“Don't open up the door. Don't open up the window,” dispatcher Matt Reinke instructed, while getting as much information as possible to help responding officers and keep them safe. “We have help that’s on the way there right now. 

“The stakes are always high when you’re dealing with somebody with a weapon,” said Reinke. “It goes a little bit higher when we’re dealing with somebody with mental health issues. Everything we do is about de-escalation.”

The caller’s brother disposed of the knife and cooperated with the officers. He was transported to the hospital for a psychiatric evaluation.

A young mother also called about her 6-month-old who, she said, “was not breathing right and throwing up.” 

The baby could be heard crying in the background, indicating that the infant was able to inhale and exhale. The dispatcher instructed the mom to try to keep the baby awake in order to avoid possible complications. Paramedics arrived and checked the baby and determined no further medical attention was needed. 

To learn more about emergency calls and dispatchers, watch “911 Crisis Center,” airing Saturdays at 9/8c on Oxygen or stream episodes here.

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