Privatizing 911 because life is too precious to be trusted to government.

Posted by Jason | Posted in Government | Posted on 18-02-2010

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InĀ  my post on every day socialism, I only talked about police, fire and roads. I guess I shouldn’t have left out 911 service, since I just recently had some liberal tell me not to bash socialism if I ever need to use 911. From my home town comes an example of what socialism delivers. The truth is 911 service is too critical to be entrusted to government.

In his first call to 911, Curtis Mitchell sounded calm, explaining to dispatchers that his “entire stomach [was] in pain.”

By the time his longtime girlfriend made a 10th call nearly 30 hours later, she was frantic. He wasn’t breathing. He was cold to the touch.

“Oh God, oh God,” Sharon Edge sobbed to dispatchers. “I’ve been trying to get an ambulance over here for three days.”

Paramedics arrived at their Hazelwood home as Ms. Edge tried to resuscitate the 50-year-old, but it was too late.

“I sat up here with him, watching him die,” Ms. Edge said Tuesday, after city officials apologized to her and pledged immediate changes in emergency response after Mr. Mitchell’s death on Feb. 7. “They didn’t do their jobs like they were supposed to.”

Snow-covered roads, poor communication and a 911 center deluged with more than double the average number of calls during last week’s crippling snowstorms combined to cause Mr. Mitchell’s long wait, city officials said.

Ambulances were dispatched three times on Saturday, Feb. 6, to the couple’s home in the 5100 block of narrow Chaplain Way, but couldn’t get there because of the snow. Paramedics twice asked whether Mr. Mitchell could walk to an intersection, even after he told them that he could not because he was in too much pain.

Emergency vehicles were within blocks of his home three times — once so close Ms. Edge could see the ambulance lights from her porch — but did not make contact with him. They finally reached the home on Sunday morning, Feb. 7, but Mr. Mitchell was already dead.

“We should have gotten there,” Public Safety Director Michael Huss said. “It’s that simple.”

via Hazelwood man dies after 10 calls to 911 over two days.

I know. I know. I’m going to have liberals jumping mad about privatizing. Even conservatives find privatization hard to swallow for what they believe is critical government services. Now, I am not talking about just hiring some company to do the exact same thing government does currently, although it would still be better than what we have now.

The problem with our current system is it’s a monopoly. Even worse, it’s a government monopoly. Without competition, you have no options, and because you have no options, the monopoly providing service has no incentive to provide the best service possible.

Let’s just throw some ideas out there just to drive liberals nuts. How about if you had a service that you subscribe to like you do for home security systems. Why couldn’t you have companies who provide 24/7 911 service (who knows what the number would be) that you subscribe to when you move into an area. When you move in to an area, you would research who has the best response times, pricing, etc. This way once you subscribe, you know who to call. This could just be one business. You could then have separate or combined businesses that actually provide the ambulances and do the pickups. The 911 service would either be the customer or the owner of the ambulance services. In order to maintain or increase their profits, the 911 service would make their system more efficient. They would work with ambulances the most efficient and least costly way to fulfill their contractual obligations. Their contractual obligation to their customers would be quickly organizing a response to your call for police, fire and 911 service.

So, what would drive 911 service providers to make sure they get to your house even in the snow? PROFITS. If you saw a story similar to the story above and it was under privatized 911 services, would you sign up for that providers service? If you were a current subscriber, would you switch your provider? The risk of losing business and profits would drive 911 service providers to never let what happened in the story above to happen. If it did, they would be punished by being put out of business. How is the government punished? You pay for the crappy service no matter what.

If there were multiple providers as I’m advocating here, Mrs. Mitchell could have said to hell with her current provider. She could have called a competitor and said, “I’m ready to switch if you get someone here asap.” Unfortunately for Mr. Mitchell, the biggest mistake was expecting a government agency to act as if they would be held accountable. They would have been better off if they called a taxi service, Fedex or even the local flower shop to deliver him to a hospital. He would probably still be alive today.

This has been a big story in my home town. Of course, even though it’s a government failure, local bureaucrats are using the incident for grandstanding. As I’ve said many times, you can’t lose when you are in government.

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Comments (7)

Your 2nd to last paragraph nailed the whole thing – accountability. No one in government is ever held truly accountable.

In business if you kill a customer, you get hammered in the press, sued in court, and you lose customers, potentially putting you out on the street. In gov, it’s way better. Because you’re the gov, you get only a little flack in the press, you can’t get sued, and you don’t lose any customers. It’s the perfect scam, and it’s pulled on us every single day.

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Liberals always think that private businesses are in the business of killing off their customers. That would have to be the worst business plan ever.

Meanwhile if the 911 provider didn’t do their job, you would sue them for breech of contract, smear them in the media, and take away their business. Seeing how crappy they are, another businessman would see a great opportunity to step in and be the quality provider.

Liberals always have these dramatic answers about the private sector leaving people to die, but the reality of the free market is so far from that. There are not real examples. If you do find an example, I can almost guarantee that there is a heavy hand of government involved, in other words it’s a highly regulated industry.

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[...] feed for updates on this topic.Interesting that this would show up just days after my privatizing 911 post. If you watch the video or even if you read the post at Hot Air, everyone seems to think this has [...]

What if your a widow with 4 teenagers and on a serious budget, and an accdient happens, who’s gona get the call, and what if your not a subscriber?? you dont get help! because there is no profit.
Or what if your in an accident and unconsious, who pays and responds to your emergency when theres is no one there but strangers to call for you?

I am a 911 dispatcher and have worked thru holidays and birthdays, missed my kids plays and recitals. I get forced to work 16 hour days for three days in a row when there are shortsges, not to mention rotating shift from days to graves to evenings. What are you willing to pay month to month for your emergency services?? $20 ? $40 ? $60 ? $80 ?? per month and start paying premiums the day you bring your infant home??

Look at the big picture, not just this one example to base your views on, see how many people we save and help, Its hundreds.. daily. I take between 50-80 medical calls and 100-200 police emercencies a day. I am a hero, who are you?

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@George – Actually..I would call you a very self-centered person. A true Hero never calls themselves one.

I watched a special on TV last night about a young man named Ethan Place. In 2004 he killed 32 insurgents while perched in his secret sniper location.

But to talk to him, you would never know any different. That my friend is a true Hero.

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You, my friend, are a moron.

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I’m just a useless tax payer George. I guess you are only a hero if you work for the gov’t. I didn’t think heroes went arould claiming themselves to be heroes, but what do I know.

Anyway, widows with 4 teenagers on a budget buy many things. You act like people shouldn’t have to make spending decisions. I hear the same argument with health insurance, food, shelter, cell phones, you name it. Guess what George someone has to pay for it. Instead of volunteering other people’s money, since you’re such a hero and all, why don’t you pony up for it. That’s right. You’re a hero until your wallet gets involved.

Also, most insurances are very low, so it would not be anywhere near the prices you are talking. It could easily be a rider on your life, home or auto insurance. Heck it could be paid by your health insurance, or you could pay out of pocket when you call them. George, just because you see no other way to achieve things other than sticking a gun to someone’s head, doesn’t mean there aren’t ways. People figure things out all the time without gov’t. It’s when gov’t sticks its nose in that everyone forgets how to think.

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