CARSON (CBSLA.com) — A controversial 911 policy has been revamped in the wake of a Carson teenager’s death at a school in Wilmington last year.
Jesus Zambrano was playing soccer at Wilmington Middle School, located at 700 Gulf Avenue, on Dec. 16, 2012, when he collapsed on the field.
The 16-year-old’s coach, Nelson Rivas, frantically called an emergency dispatcher for help, but wasn’t able to remember the exact address for the school.
“What’s the address, sir?” the dispatcher asked.
“Lomita Boulevard,” said Rivas.
“I’ve got Lomita Boulevard, but I still need numbers, sir,” said the dispatcher.
“It’s the middle school,” Rivas said.
“Okay…what?” said the dispatcher.
“Wilmington Middle School,” Rivas said.
“Okay, that’s not an address, sir, that’s just the name of a school,” said the dispatcher.
Rivas responded, “Lomita Boulevard, the only middle school, Wilmington Middle School, I don’t know.”
Parents and coaches continued to scream the name of the school, but the Los Angeles Fire Department dispatcher wouldn’t send an ambulance to the scene unless a street address was provided to him.
Although an ambulance, which came from Fire Station 38 a mile and a half away from the school, was finally sent out, it went to the wrong location.
CBS2’s Randy Paige said records showed a second ambulance arrived at the soccer field about 13 minutes after the first 911 call.
By then, Zambrano had already passed away.
The boy’s family said they believe the fire department’s slow response contributed to Zambrano’s death.
LAFD Deputy Chief David Yamahata told Paige a street address is required before an ambulance can be dispatched to a scene.
As a result of Zambrano’s death, however, Yamahata said all school addresses will be entered into the 911 system, which means the institution’s name is all that will be needed to get paramedics to an emergency situation.
Zambrano’s mother said she hopes the city will learn from her son’s situation, so other children in need of an ambulance have a chance to survive.