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News Release


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, April 16, 2009

Dispatcher who guided cave-in rescue honored

Family photo of Alessandro Gelmini and Alec Corbett standing beneath an arch of ice before it collapsed on them.Last August a distraught mother called 911 from a trail near Snoqualmie Pass to report that an ice cave had collapsed on her son and his friend. Joni Corbett was so panicked, she was ready to go into what remained of the cave after the teen boys.

Becky McCracken, an emergency dispatcher with the Eastside Regional Communications Center at Bellevue City Hall, took Corbett's call. On the phone with Corbett for more than an hour, McCracken kept Corbett calm and was able to gather crucial information about the location of the cave-in. With McCracken's assistance, rescuers found the boys and, using chainsaws, cut through heavy ice to save them.

McCracken, who has been dispatching for eight years, will receive an award for exemplary handling of an EMS incident today. King County Emergency Medical Services and King County-Seattle Public Health will also recognize nine-year veteran dispatcher Erin Mitchell for sustained exemplary performance.

The awards come during Dispatcher Recognition Week.

"Becky did an exceptional job of calming the caller down so she could focus on obtaining vital information that the rescuers needed, as well as ensuring safety for the other hikers (with Corbett), two of which were young children," Pam Bryson, Eastside Dispatch's training coordinator, wrote in an award nomination.

"This call had the potential to end very tragically, but Becky's excellent skills as an EMS call receiver, and her calm and reassuring tone, absolutely contributed to the positive outcome," Bryson noted.

In the nomination for Mitchell, Karen Swent, her supervisor, wrote, "The positive attitude and influence that Erin brings to work on a daily basis makes her an integral team player. She is readily available, proactive and can be counted on time and time again to assist both her coworkers and those she serves in the field … I would feel confident and assured of their care, if Erin answered a call from one of my loved ones in one of their most difficult or trying moments of need."

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450 110th Ave. NE
P.O. Box 90012
Bellevue, WA 98009
Contact: Officer Seth Tyler
Phone: 425-452-4129
E-mail: bellevuepd@bellevuewa.gov


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