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Episode 1: Trapped in the Snow Cave

In August 2008, two families were hiking along a mountain creek southwest of Bellevue, Washington when a shelf of thick snow collapsed on two teenage boys. The boys’ mothers called 911 and the dispatcher  stayed on the line with them for over an hour, until help arrived. Both boys had serious injuries, but survived.

The two mothers, Joni and Chrissie, seem to take it in turns to panic. Both of them seem to go from hysterical to uncannily calm in a heartbeat. Listen carefully to the dispatcher. Her calm and determined sympathy comes across in every word she says. Although the two women sometimes become impatient and yell at her, she stays with them throughout the whole terrible hour-long ordeal, helping them to remain focused. She takes care to continually ask which woman she’s speaking to, so she can address them by name, as they hand the phone to one another in their panic. She prevents Joni from fainting with fear by making her think about her young daughter, who’s present at the scene.

Listen to the 911 call here. (1 hour 46 seconds)

Read more about the story, from Fire Rescue Magazine, 11/30/2008


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