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RI E-911 operators credited for saving woman in distress

(WJAR)

Two Rhode Island E-911 operators are being credited for helping a sick woman in distress.

The Cranston woman was having a diabetic episode, but her location was a mystery.

It took police almost an hour to find her, but 911 operators never hung up the phone and stayed on the line with her the whole time.

"I was going to stay on the phone with her. I didn't care what time it was. I would've stayed on all night,” said E-911 Center Senior Supervisor Jon Desmarais.

Operators said a man identified as Michael called to notify 911 when he was supposed to meet his girlfriend, Kasey, on Broadway in Providence for dinner last month, but she called to tell him she was having a diabetic episode.

Calltakers Steven Castaldi and Jon Desmarais called Kasey and told her to pull over and put her flashers on.

The two have more than 35 years combined experience as telecommunicators, but said the call was difficult because Kasey's location was unknown.

They then asked her to hang up and call 911 back so they could get her location.

Castaldi said he contacted AT&T, who was able to give them about a mile radius of Kasey's location, somewhere along the Cranston/Providence line.

"We found out that it hadn't moved out of that area and it stayed in that wide area," Castaldi said.

As police looked for her car, audio records show that Kasey stopped speaking. Operators worried she would fall into a diabetic coma.

"I have fire department experience and my training through that, and as a former EMT, that's what got me to stay on the phone with her because I knew what could happen," Desmarais said.

After an hour, Cranston police found Kasey. She was taken to Roger Williams Hospital and later released.

Castaldi and Desmarais said they were just doing their job.

"It could have been my daughter," Desmarais said. "He's got a daughter too. Makes us feel great."

The Acting Associate Director of Rhode Island's E-911 Center said eight new telecommunicators have been hired. It follows an NBC 10 I-Team investigation that revealed serious understaffing there.

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