Sometimes baby can’t wait and that’s what happened on June 22 at 6:45 p.m. when Brian Crabb, a part-time dispatcher with Redcom and a full-time Healdsburg firefighter, had to guide a couple over the phone on how to deliver their child in a parking lot.
Crabb, who’s been a dispatcher for four years and firefighter for five years, said this particular delivery took place inside a car in a Santa Rosa parking lot.
“I can only imagine the circumstances around that situation,” Crabb said. “Perhaps they were rushing to the hospital and the couple realized they couldn't make it in time.”
According to Crabb, the baby was delivered within two minutes of taking the call.
“So I didn't have time to ask about the circumstances. My priority was to assist the parents with the delivery,” he said.
Redcom, the dispatch service, uses Emergency Medical Dispatch (EMD), a tool that helps a dispatcher gather information and provide instructions to 911 callers. Redcom provides dispatch fire and medical service for all of Sonoma County with the exception of Cloverdale and Rohnert Park Fire Services.
In this case, Crabb used EMD in order to guide the couple during delivery.
In terms of training for a delivery situation Crabb said, “I've always prepared myself for different types of calls that come into Redcom. EMD has 33 different protocols that deal with specific medical complaints, from an allergic reaction, chest pain, to a traumatic injury. Every month Redcom dispatchers train on different situations to better prepare us for any type of emergency.”
Crabb also received extensive labor and delivery training when he worked on an ambulance from 2008 to 2013.
“I sometimes try to imagine potential emergencies that I've never responded to, and how I would handle that situation. I have to be prepared for the worst, so that I can remain calm and composed when I encounter a new emergency,” Crabb said.
After the delivery the mother and the baby were transported to the hospital and a firefighter from Santa Rosa rode with the two in order to provide extra care.
Crabb said of the experience, “Helping the parents deliver their baby was thrilling. The parents took my directions very well, and I couldn't help but smile when I heard the baby over the phone. I will definitely remember that call for the rest of my life.”