The Start of 911 Lookout
Two fire chiefs from Cook County, Illinois, both with over 20 years of first responder experience, set out to solve what they recognized was an industry-wide problem – a decline of quality service by first responders. In 2020, fire chiefs Tracy Kenny and David Blondell wanted to do more than just identify the causes of the industry-wide problem, they wanted to find a solution. This was the beginning of 911 Lookout.
The Start of 911 Lookout
911 Lookout executives conducted research by interviewing a diverse group of fire, EMS, and police administrators, and concluded three major obstacles in the delivery of the highest level of quality service and compassionate care.
Fear of retribution (or nonaction) prevents most 911 users from providing feedback.
Countless times, administrators have answered phone calls from civilians that start off with, “I wasn’t going to say anything, but I felt compelled to tell you…” Fear of being persecuted, passed off, or worse yet, feeling like they won’t ever be heard, are major obstacles that prevent civilians from providing much needed feedback about the quality of service they are provided from 911 responders.
When feedback is provided, it is often not communicated up the chain of command.
When 911 users do provide feedback, most complaints, or even praises, are stifled by a code of silence or a lack of reporting procedures within the department. Yet, with municipalities operating on tight budgets, quality control departments are not sustainable.
A lack of supervision or accountability provides little motivation to improve the quality of service provided.
Measurable improvement in compassionate care happened when first responders were held accountable with direct supervision.
Chiefs Kenny and Blondell crafted a survey and metric system to solicit and document feedback from the 911 users to be used as a tool to improve the overall quality of service. While it is not feasible to have supervisors on every call, 911 Lookout provides a window into the service provided at each incident. When first responders are aware of an uncompromisable, unbiased third-party watchdog monitoring their behavior, the service, unsurprisingly, can and almost always improves. Communities that participate in the 911 Lookout program are provided with monthly reports that break down the service ratings of the department, shifts, and individual members.
911 Lookout proudly employs current and former emergency response personnel and career administrators. 911 Lookout has employees from different areas, cultures, and emergency response backgrounds. Chiefs Kenny and Blondell take a cumulative approach to leadership by using internal feedback from our career first responders. This helps us deploy an industry game-changing methodology to help communities participate in the nation’s movement to exceptional first responder service.
911Lookout is a service created by first responders, for first responders, to ensure that the reputation of this critical public service is kept at the highest possible level.