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  1. #1
    MembersZone Subscriber E229Lt's Avatar
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    Default 911- your call will be answered in the order it was received

    The above has long been a running joke in many movies and parodys. No longer a joke here. I live in Nassau County and last Wednesday at 2:11 pm a local woman collapsed. The 911 call made by the Village Mayor got the above recording and was not answered by a human for 57 seconds.

    Many in the community might think 57 seconds is pretty quick. We know better. Does anyone else have a story like this? Maybe I'm naive, but I couldn't believe my ears when I heard this story. 2:11 in the afternoon and, NO, there was no ongoing emergencies in the county that would have inundated the system.


  2. #2
    Forum Member nmfire's Avatar
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    If he got a recording, then apparently there was something else going on. How about we get all the facts before we make a media spectacle?
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

  3. #3
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    Default Was the call made from a cell phone?

    Around here, until recently and perhaps still (?), 911 calls made from cell phones are routed through CHP, sometimes far outside of our county, and usually are put on hold. Calls from "land lines" go right to our local dispatch.
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    How many operators do you have there LT?

  5. #5
    MembersZone Subscriber E229Lt's Avatar
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    How about we get all the facts before we make a media spectacle?
    Media spectacle? I'm asking a question on a firefighter's forum.

  6. #6
    Forum Member martinm's Avatar
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    Speaking as a Comms Centre Supervisor, I would that that 57 seconds for an emergency call to be answered is quite excessive. My services performance inidcator is 15 seconds maximum to pick up a 999 (911) call. Maybe there is a staffing issue but certaintly the public don't want to hear ring tones or recordings on emergency lines.
    United Kingdom branch, IACOJ.

  7. #7
    the 4-1-4 Jasper 45's Avatar
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    If he got a recording, then apparently there was something else going on. How about we get all the facts before we make a media spectacle?

    How about the expectation that, when dialing 911, you are able to get through? It doesn’t matter what the other “facts” are, the system that serves an area needs to be able to handle the call volume, and be functioning.

    Here is one to add; my city is implementing a brand new communications, 911, dispatching system/center. Of course, it has been touted as an upgrade, an improvement over what we currently use, for all emergency services. It utilizes GPS; all emergency vehicles now have computers, and so on. The problem lies here, though, when the system call volume increases, because the computer system has too much information processing in it, it slows down to a snail’s pace. What happens next is the neat part, the whole system needs to be shut down to reboot; in order to relieve the slow down; a process that all total takes 30-45 minutes, from start to finish. During this time that the computer system is down there is absolutely no back up system. Dispatchers are required to keep track of runs, and the companies operating at them on pieces of scrap paper. It doesn’t just stop there, as well. Since the computer system is down, along with CAD, all departmental phones are down as well, leaving dispatchers to call engine houses via the rear phone for alarm notification, provided of course that the rear phone has nobody using it.
    The entire back up system, our old “grouping board”, with 100% reliability no matter what, was entirely removed with the implementation of this “state of the art” brand new system.
    The neat aspect is that it only slows down when the activity level is up; throw in a couple of greater alarms, or simultaneous fires, and the system needs to reboot very quickly.
    I would not have believed it, if it was not for the fact I saw it first hand.
    Last edited by jasper45; 02-16-2006 at 12:37 PM.

  8. #8
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    Well, Jasper, I guess you already know the Murphy's then. They will be your new neighbors. Now snuggle up and play nice with Mr. Murphy while he gets acquainted with your new system.
    Seriously, hopefully somebody with some sense will get in their and help you out. It probably won't be your friendly Comm/IT salesman

  9. #9
    Forum Member HeavyRescueTech's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by E229Lt
    The above has long been a running joke in many movies and parodys. No longer a joke here. I live in Nassau County and last Wednesday at 2:11 pm a local woman collapsed. The 911 call made by the Village Mayor got the above recording and was not answered by a human for 57 seconds.

    Many in the community might think 57 seconds is pretty quick. We know better. Does anyone else have a story like this? Maybe I'm naive, but I couldn't believe my ears when I heard this story. 2:11 in the afternoon and, NO, there was no ongoing emergencies in the county that would have inundated the system.
    LT, have you ever sat in dispatch? 2:11pm on a wednesday afternoon is probably one of the bussiest times for them (weekday afternoon times are most of areas).

    question that should be answered by an investigation:

    1) how many other incidents (any "run" that involves a PO, Rig or truck that the dispatcher is responsible for tracking) were going on when this incident occurred? it might not have been one big emegencies, but all those little emergencies do build up.

    2) how many dispatchers were on duty when this happened?

    3) how many 911 calls were ringing when this occurred?

    4) does the dispatch center have any plans for what should happen should they end up stacking 911 calls?

    While I don't think this is appropriate, I think it's similar to waiting 15-20+ minutes for an ambulance to show up after you call 911 for chest pains. and when you call 911 again, you learn that a rig arrived, picked up some bum, and already left the scene. and it takes another 10 minutes to get another ambulance to finally transport a patient to the hospital. This happened to me (I was the off duty EMT treating the patient), while I was in NYC, midtown manhattan to be exact. and I know that it happens in other city enviorments as well, often involving 100% paid systems, where call end up holding until an ambulance becomes available.

    oh, and I've also been put on hold for several minutes while waiting for the NJSP to pick up the phone when I call 911 to report a multi vehicle accident on the Garden state parkway. so it's probably not as uncommon of a problem as you would think.
    If my basic HazMat training has taught me nothing else, it's that if you see a glowing green monkey running away from something, follow that monkey!

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  10. #10
    MembersZone Subscriber dmleblanc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by E229Lt
    The above has long been a running joke in many movies and parodys. No longer a joke here. I live in Nassau County and last Wednesday at 2:11 pm a local woman collapsed. The 911 call made by the Village Mayor got the above recording and was not answered by a human for 57 seconds.

    .
    My thoughts:

    1) This sounds like a problem that has existed for a while, probably been reported by concerned citizens and emergency responders, but it finally took for the Mayor to have an emergency for it to suddenly become a "problem"...am I very far off here?

    2) Hopefully now that the problem has been exposed, the Mayor will have the clout to have something done about it.
    Chief Dwayne LeBlanc
    Paincourtville Volunteer Fire Department
    Paincourtville, LA

    "I have a dream. It's not a big dream, it's just a little dream. My dream — and I hope you don't find this too crazy — is that I would like the people of this community to feel that if, God forbid, there were a fire, calling the fire department would actually be a wise thing to do. You can't have people, if their houses are burning down, saying, 'Whatever you do, don't call the fire department!' That would be bad."
    — C.D. Bales, "Roxanne"

  11. #11
    Forum Member nmfire's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by E229Lt
    Media spectacle? I'm asking a question on a firefighter's forum.
    I know. My point is that it is being brought up just like the media would. I'm not saying the media even knows about it but the initial post about this came acorss as is if a reporter had just uncovered some big story.

    I have no idea how 911 is setup over there. But logic and common sense woud dictate that there are a few lines worth of roll-over before it becomes a recording or goes somewhere else. A 911 call isn't going to just go immidiately to a recording. All the roll-over lines would have to be busy and there would have to be no secondary/backup PSAP. My initial guess at what happned here is that something was otherwise occupying the dispatcher, I don't know what, but obviously something was. I'm not going to make assumptions as to what exactly it was that caused the delay until I hear it from the horses mouth. That is what I mean by a Media Spectacle... making it a big deal before we know it really is a big deal.

    Having it roll over to a recording seems asinine but I guess that is how their system is designed.

    In CT, there is no way it could even happen to begin with. If every 911 line for the municipality is in use, or the dispatcher doesn't answer, the call would roll-over to a designated backup PSAP. In the unlikely event that backup PSAP doesn't or can't answer, it would keep rolling over to the next PSAP until a human picked up the phone. For a cell phone that gets routed to a regional PSAP, it works the same. Usually the state police are the primary or backup PSAP for that. Obviously that is going to increase the time for the call to be picked up, but that is just the way it is. If 25 people call 911 at once for an accident on the highway, you can't answer 25 calls at once.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

  12. #12
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    If the village mayor is the one who discovered this problem then he should be fully aware and improve staffing as needed ....

    but yes 1 min is to long to hold for 911 service.
    Troutville Volunteer Fire Department
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  13. #13
    Dispatch Dweller Jay911's Avatar
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    My center operates with two 911 operators - 3 on peak times - plus a supervisor who can enter the queue and answer calls when it gets busy as well. This is for a city of a million plus rural areas totalling about a million population as well. You will find many times where the recording kicks in. This recording is played after 12 seconds (2 rings) of unanswered time. It says "All emergency operators are busy with other callers. Do not hang up. Your call will be answered."

    There's nothing wrong with getting that for a few seconds. Like others said, apparently something else was going on for that 911 center at that instant in time. We frequently get 30 or 40 calls reporting the same MVA, and calls stack in queue. To hear some of you, that means we should have 30 or 40 calltakers ready at all times to receive these calls -despite the fact that we can go for stretches of 45 to 90 minutes at some points during the day or night without getting one call, period.

    When it gets excessive is when the entire city phones in all at once. We had a condo fire here in 2001 that could be seen from everywhere in the city, and many people believed it was much closer than it actually was (couldn't convince them it was downtown when they were 7 miles away and could see it so clearly). At one point, we had 17 callers in queue (hearing the message) and the longest one had waited 85 seconds.

    Places only have a certain number of physical lines that 911 calls can occupy, too - meaning lines that "lock" into the 911 system and can carry the advanced 911 features, etc. I think our center has 64. Once you hit that limit, calls start overflowing to our backup - the city police.

    Cities/911 centers will never be able to answer every call the instant it is delivered. You just can't operate that way - the costs would kill any size budget, and there'd be so much resources (people and equipment) sitting idle well over 99.99% of the time.
    --jay.

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