Ambulance dispatcher, cellphone app credited with saving lost hikers
Published Thursday, July 12, 2012 7:27PM ADT
A quick-thinking ambulance dispatcher is being credited for saving three lost hikers by using an application on their cellphone.
The 911 call that came in yesterday was like any other; someone was in need. Three campers had lost their way in the woods near Sussex, N.B.
“They were very calm, they simply just wanted to get the help they needed to be able to get out,” says Ambulance NB operations manager Joel Gallant.
The group left for their trip Tuesday but by Wednesday one of them had fallen ill and needed medical attention.
Gallant overheard the call from one of the hiker’s mothers. Understanding the urgency of the situation, he recalled a news story about a “Find My Phone” app for cellphones.
“I encouraged her to find the application,” says Gallant. “I described it to her, grey box with a radar inside of it. The problem was it didn't give us any additional information. It simply showed where her phone was located. Then the lightbulb went off again. I said, ‘well if she can see herself, I can see her, I'll log in through my iPad and I can track her that way.”
By that point, the group’s cell phone was dying. To conserve battery power, Gallant switched to instant messaging. He remained in contact with them until they reached a nearby road where they were met by paramedics and police.
“I think this is a great tool to be used,” says Gallant. “I know the other phone makers as well have similar applications that we need to harness.”
The three campers were taken to Sussex Regional hospital in good condition. Their status today is not known, but thanks to the quick thinking of Gallant they were able to get the medical attention they needed.
“It's experience, and being exposed to this technology is a great asset as well. In this case it really turned out pretty good,” says Michel Gravel of Ambulance NB.
Officials at Ambulance NB says they’ll make sure all their dispatchers know how to use the app, giving them another tool to help the next time someone is lost.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Jonathan MacInnis