Wednesday, September 4, 2013

From the world wide spider web

I've often been told that I should write a book about my experiences working in 911 and public safety.  I am loath to compete with brilliant wordsmiths such as Debbie Macomber, J.K. Rowling and Dan Brown, so I keep nixing the idea.  But here is a story that I like.  It concerns 911 and it has a happy ending, and you rarely see that combination.

It started for me when someone told me that "it was on the news - some teenaged girl called 911 because there was a spider in the house."  I figured I'd look into it, and I'm awful glad I did, because my friend missed a couple of important pieces of the story.

Here is a link to the story on ABC News.  The first thing you need to know is that the young lady, 17-year-old Makenna Sewell, gets around in a wheelchair.  She has muscular dystrophy.  Right away, that puts the story in a different light.

Second thing: she was alone in her house when she spotted the spider, the biggest one she ever saw.

It's believed that the spider was a brown recluse spider, not too rare where Makenna lives.  Days before all this, her mom had been bitten by a brown recluse, which is a venomous type of spider.  Makenna has a compromised immune system, due to her MD, and that makes it all the more important that she avoid being bitten by one.

Makenna tried to call her mother, her father, the friends her parents were with, her own friends and two neighbors...all to no avail.

She realized that if she made a swat at the creature, it would fall to the floor and scuttle away, only to come back out again.

She needed help.  She called the non-emergency police number and asked - asked - if someone could help.
Ms Sewell
 And the police responded after their dispatcher sent them, and they dispatched the spider to Kingdom Come.

Makenna Sewell of Forest Grove, OR (which sounds like a place where spiders and other woodland fauna abound) did the right thing, so did the dispatcher, and so did the police who responded.

Kindly compare that with the young lady who called our 911 several years ago, haughtily informing the calltaker that her father was a big shot, well connected in the county government.  She said her boyfriend had come back from fishing and had been cleaning his flounder on her porch, leaving scales and fish innards all over the porch.  And she demanded - demanded -  that the Fire Dept. send an engine to hose off her porch.

Quick- name the supervisor who suggested she try another plan, involving buckets of water and Ajax!

No, spider extermination is not part of the standard protocols for 911, police, fire, or EMS.  But intelligent, reasonable public service is.  All those folks in Forest Grove ought to be proud!

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