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Multiple Fatality Crash Challenged Lone Radio Room Staffer At Kentucky State Police Post

April 8-14 is National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week

Date of News Release: 04/09/2012

Police Telecommunicator Daniel Priddy

(Frankfort, KY) -- Police Telecommunicator Daniel Priddy was working alone in the radio room of Kentucky State Police Post 3 in Bowling Green during the pre-dawn hours of March 26, 2010. It had been a quiet shift with little activity. That was about to change.

At 5:17 a.m. the first call came in. A 53-foot semi-tractor trailer had collided head on with a 15-passenger van on Interstate 65, near Munfordville, Ky., about 75 miles south of Louisville.

Police Telecommunicator Daniel Priddy"I remember the first caller stating that there were bodies all over the roadway," says Priddy. "My first reaction was to get first responders enroute."

The calls continued. More than 100 were received in about 10 minutes.

"The first hour was non-stop phone calls and radio traffic," he recalls. "I knew by the callers' reactions that this was a horrific collision and there were likely to be multiple fatalities."

From his training, Priddy knew he had to prioritize. "I soon realized that the phones were not going to stop ringing. I had to quickly determine what was important and what I could place on hold," he says.

"When I looked up and saw all available lines in use, I had to place the next available line on hold with no one on it just so I could pick it back up and call out to other agencies and responders when needed."

After notifying first responders and KSP supervisors, Priddy was able to request assistance from off-duty members of the Post 3 telecommunications team. He worked alone for more than 45 minutes before additional personnel arrived.

As a result of the crash, 11 people died and the interstate was closed for more than 10 hours.

Capt. Lisa Rudzinski, commander of Post 3 at the time of the incident, praised Priddy for his efforts. "He handled all in-coming calls while remaining calm and professional," she said.

In October of 2011, KSP recognized Priddy for his actions with a Police Communications Support Award. It's a recognition he shares with others.

"KSP Post 3 has a lot of great telecommunicators," he notes. "I was just in the seat on that day. We have all successfully worked a number of critical incidents and would all be prepared to deal with this situation as well."

A native and resident of Brownsville, Ky., Priddy is a seven-and-a-half year veteran of the Kentucky State Police. He joined the agency as a telecommunicator right out of high school.

"I was considering going into law enforcement and thought it was great way to get my foot in the door," he says. "After doing the job for a few years, I decided to make it a career."

Over the years the job has provided both challenges and rewards, he says. "Dealing with the public is one of the hardest and best parts of the job," he says. "Talking to a 911 operator can be one of the most stressful situations in people's lives. Staying calm while the majority of the people you talk to are not can prove to be difficult. However, the ability to assist those who are scared and truly need help is the best reward of all."

Tips For Requesting Emergency Services

When life-threatening situations occur, every second counts. Summoning help can be overwhelming. Follow these guidelines to help make the process smoother and faster.

  • Stay calm. Take a few deep breaths to relax. Panic is an enemy in this race against time.
  • Dial 9-1-1. Stay on the line until an operator answers. Hang-ups result in wasted time as operators are required to return abandoned calls to verify if an emergency exists.
  • Speak clearly and slowly. Give as many details as possible.
  • Listen carefully. Be mentally prepared to follow instructions.
  • Answer all questions you are asked. Let the 9-1-1 operator take control of the conversation. They are trained to ask questions in a systematic order. The pace may seem rapid, but it is designed to gather information as efficiently as possible.
  • Be patient. Some questions may seem irrelevant, but they are designed to assist first responders when they arrive on the scene. Often, emergency personnel have already been alerted and additional information from these questions is transmitted to them enroute. Their response is not delayed.
  • Provide the following information if possible:
    • Name and phone number: The operator may need to call back for more information.
    • Location: Always be aware of your surroundings. If you donít know the exact address, look for street intersections, road or exit signs, business names or public landmarks or buildings.
    • Type of emergency: Do you need law enforcement, fire fighters or medical services?
    • Details: Provide a concise description of what happened.
  • Stay on the line. Do not hang up until the operator instructs you to do so.

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