On October 30, a TriMet operator witnessed a pedestrian being struck by an auto and pushed the alarm on the agency’s radio system to call for assistance. TriMet’s new radio system tracked the call, including knowing exactly where the bus was at that moment, but the audio was “garbled.”
Setting the record straight
TriMet staff, along with the Computer-Aided Dispatch/Automatic Vehicle Location (CAD/AVL) vendors conducted an extensive review of all data logs during this incident and concluded that the radio system performed as expected, and determined that the operator inadvertently pushed the wrong call button.
The confusion in dispatch and the “garbled” message was the result of the operator pushing the silent alarm, which activates an open microphone and transmits ambient sound for two minutes. The silent alarm will not transmit crystal clear communication when compared to an operator talking on the handset with dispatch.
The police or medical emergency button should have been activated, which would have prompted dispatch to immediately call the operator via the handset. The silent alarm should only be activated when the operator wants police sent immediately without needing to converse with dispatch.