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Rhode Island, Have You Called 911? Do You Work in Emergency Response? Talk to Us.

We want to hear from Rhode Islanders who’ve called 911 in a medical emergency and those who work in emergency medical response to uncover challenges facing the state’s 911 system.

Update, June 15, 2019: Since we started this investigation, Rhode Island’s legislature increased the training budget for 911 call takers to address cardiac arrest emergencies. But our investigation isn’t stopping. There are still big questions we have about the quality of operator training, the efficiency of the dispatcher system and the efficacy of the emergency response system beyond cardiac arrest cases.

Somebody collapses. Or they’re in a dangerous car accident.

When medical emergencies strike, seconds can matter.

An investigation this year by ProPublica and The Public’s Radio has found that the way Rhode Island’s 911 system is set up is inferior to those of other states, putting people suffering from cardiac arrest at risk. But there’s more to know.

We want to understand whether patients and callers receive the care they need when they call 911 for any medical reason. Ideally, we’d like to learn what unfolded in as many 911 calls as possible.

Here’s what we need now:

Do you work in emergency medical response in Rhode Island?

We want to know what thoughts Rhode Island’s emergency medical technicians, paramedics, emergency physicians, 911 telecommunicators and dispatchers have about the state’s emergency system and how it could better serve Rhode Islanders.

Have you ever called 911 for a medical emergency? Has 911 ever been called on behalf of somebody close to you? These telephone calls are shrouded in secrecy — a 1996 state law prevents the general public from accessing these recordings. In Rhode Island, only the person whose voice is on the 911 call has the legal right to obtain a copy of the call.

We’re looking for people who can help us track down Rhode Island 911 calls and understand the mechanics behind the process, from call to hospital. Is that you? Or can you point us to somebody? Fill out the form below.

Your submission is confidential. We won’t publish any information you share without your permission, and we won’t voluntarily share what you tell us here.

Note: We know these calls can be very sensitive. You might want to take a look at Rhode Island’s Good Samaritan laws, which offer some protections for those who call 911.


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Portrait of Karim Doumar

Karim Doumar

Karim Doumar was the Deputy Newsletter Editor with ProPublica.

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