Letter: Accident reveals flaws in emergency services

Editor,

I am the 80-year-old man who managed to survive a boat capsizing on July 1 while my partner did not make it.

First, I would like to thank all of the first responders from the county and Navy who helped me get to the hospital and tried to rescue my friend.

I would also like to thank the young woman, and older couple with her, for assisting me while we waited for the emergency folks to arrive. They insisted that I sit in their rather new Cadillac while we waited even though I was bleeding and partially covered with sand.

Obviously, a lot of things went wrong with our crabbing trip that day. This, in spite of the fact that we had the right equipment, both had completed boater education courses and had several thousand hours in similar boats.

One thing that did surprise me was my inability to contact emergency services using my cell phone. I tried dialing 911 and was connected to an answering machine someplace. I have since learned that a certain button sequence on my phone was supposed to get the job done.

Since then, I have purchased a phone that’s one model newer, and it also has a button sequence for calling emergency, and that sequence is completely different from the phone I had that day.

I also tried asking the 911 folks how one should contact them with a cell phone. They did not know.

The point is this, find out now how to contact emergency services with your cell phone. You never know when you will need this information.

In my case, I not only needed it, but needed it fast. And then you will reach the fairly obvious conclusion that you should try it out to be sure it works.

That may very well lead you to make an annoyance call to emergency services, which they do not appreciate and can take action against you if they choose.

If anyone has found a way to test the system legally, I and probably many others, would like to hear it.

Mike Mosbrooker,

Oak Harbor

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