On The Subject of Calling 911…

This isn’t a case of them not receiving the call, this is just Toronto suffering from a lack of resources. Toronto police response time under fire after Parkdale murder scene left unattended

It was apparently 90 minutes before a car was available to be dispatched. (The call came in as assault in progress.) At 90 minutes the victim had already died.

Calling 911 is fine thing to do, but in this case, even though they believed an assault was in process, there was no one to respond. If you believe that calling 911 is the answer to all of your problems, what are you going to do when there is no one available to respond? I know most large cities, and probably even some smaller cities at times have a lack of resources.

Now the Toronto Police Department is facing cuts, so the cynic in me thinks that some degree of slow-down may be in service to the “Stop the Toronto Police Cuts” campaign. But they may actually have a point too.

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What If You Called 911 and Nobody Came

This is an epic fail of the 911 system. Family speaks out after tree falls on, injures children during party

A tree falls on several kids during a party. Several adults call 911. No one responds.

People at the party transported the children to the hospital themselves. Now, they have questions about response times.

“I went to the hospital with those kids, came back, no ambulance nobody had responded. It took us to go driving and walking outside and finding people. You know, it’s hard to see a baby– have you ever just seen a child just dying bleeding?” said Washington, still emotional about the tragedy.

The EMS service that covers the area where this occurred has no record of the call. It doesn’t say in this story, buy my guess – and it is just a guess – is that it will turn out the 911 calls were made with cell phones. And the 911 center that answered can’t handle cell phones properly.

Cell phones in their current form are basically more than 20 years old. And at some point all phones were made to be equipped with GPS specifically for 911 calls. Though I may be remembering that incorrectly.

Calling 911 is a fine thing to do, but you shouldn’t count everything working perfectly.

What If You Called 911 and Were Put on Hold for 5 Minutes

When seconds count, 911 is minutes away from answering your call. ‘Seconds count’: Woman sounds alarm after she says 911 call put on hold for 5 minutes | CBC News

Last week Nada Morra, owner of Original’s Ale House, near Bayview Avenue and Eglinton Avenue., called 911 when one of her customers began choking and couldn’t breathe.

She says she was put on hold — for five minutes.

Like most big North American cities, Toronto’s 911 handles EMS, Fire and Police. And whatever emergency you have, an extra 5 minute delay is not good.

Toronto promises to get more 911 operators, and more funding has been approved, but getting more people trained takes time.

So while I think calling 911 is a fine thing to do, you might want to consider what you are going to do while you wait. Wait for 911. Wait for Police to respond. Whatever. You are going to wait. Depending on your emergency, what is going on around you, and where you are, you could be in for a very long wait. It might even be the rest of your life.

Calling 911 is a strategy for dealing with emergencies. But there are other strategies as well. Learning first aid. Keeping a fire extinguisher under the kitchen sink. I’m sure you can think of others.

How Long Can You Expect to Wait After Calling 911?

These numbers assume (in the priority 1 cases) that you can call for help BEFORE bad things happen. It is not always the case that you can. What’s expected? Tucson Police response times – KGUN9.com

Is Tuscon an average city? I have no way of knowing.

The 9-1-1 calls of crimes in progress — life threatening — are put at the top of the priority list. About 2,300 calls expected this year — more than double the amount from 2012.

City of Tucson data shows an average response time of five minutes reached 72 percent of the time.

5 minutes – if your life is in danger – can seem like a long time. But as these things go, 5 minutes would be pretty good. If they could meet that all the time, which they can’t.

Unfortunately, this story doesn’t cover things like mean, median, or standard deviation. Or even what the maximum-wait-time was for a priority 1 call. Those would be interesting stats.

The priority 2 goal is 10 minutes; they reach it 60% of the time. (Some danger is present.) Low priority calls (you have been burglarized, your car WAS stolen, etc.) has a goal of 2 hours; they meet that 66% of the time.

While it may be annoying, your car is going to be just as stolen an hour later. But the priority 3 & 4 calls are getting all the complaints.

Calling 911 is a fine thing to do. They can send all kinds of help your way depending on your emergency. In the case of a priority 1 call, if you can call before bad things happen, 5 minutes can still be a very long time to wait. You might want to consider having a plan for while you wait, or what you might do in the event you can’t call 911.

What If You Called 911, And They Didn’t Have Up-to-date Maps?

This caused a very long delay due to a road that was closed. Outdated GPS software led to delay in emergency response time – WSMV News 4

A guy fell. A neighbor called 911. While it usually takes 10 minutes to get an ambulance, it took 31 minutes. And 3 calls to 911.

It’s a stupid little problem. Update the maps in the GPS. The service involved (and the others they interviewed for the story) did that when Garmin issues new maps, or a semiannual (or annual) basis. One service didn’t use commercial GPS, but used the 911 system, which gets updated whenever a road changes.

Calling 911 is a fine thing to do. They can dispatch an ambulance, or a fire truck, or the police, depending on the nature of your emergency. But if all you are going to do is call 911 and wait, you might consider what you are going to do in that time. Even if they hadn’t gotten lost, the drive from where the ambulance started to the scene of the accident is between 15 and 20 minutes. A lot of bad things can happen in 15 minutes.

The story has a (somewhat) happy ending. The guy who fell has a broken rib and a broken wrist. He is recuperating in a nursing home.

It’s been a while since I looked at the service agreement you sign up for when you open a Garmin GPS, but my guess is that little card no one ever reads says that Garmin is not responsible for anything.

Are You Prepared to Wait 90 Minutes for a Response to Your 911 Call?

This was a call about an active home-invasion. Memphis father says delayed 911 response time put his family at risk | WREG.com

A mother was home with her 2 children when someone started breaking in. That was at 4:45pm. At 4:47pm a second call was made to inform dispatch that the mother was home with 2 kids, and someone was breaking in. A 3rd call was placed at 5:05. At 6:06 officers were available, and they arrived at the house at 6:18.

That is 93 minutes between the 1st call and response.

Calling 911 is a fine thing to do, but if that is the only thing you are prepared to do, then you might want to reconsider your planning. They can’t send someone charging to your rescue, if they are all busy on other calls.

What If You Called 911 and They Hung Up on You?

Because the operator “didn’t want to talk.” Ex-Houston 911 operator guilty of hanging up on thousands of callers – CBS News

Calling 911 is fine thing to do. They can send police, and fire or emergency medical personnel. But they can also ignore you.

Prosecutors from the Harris County district attorney’s office say she worked as a 911 operator for a year and a half, ending in 2016. Records showed that thousands of calls lasting less than 20 seconds were attributed to her hanging up. She was fired after a supervisor noticed the unusual number of “short calls.”

She faced misdemeanor charges of interfering with 911 calls and was sentenced to 10 days in jail, and 18 months probation.

Williams told investigators she often hung up because she didn’t want to talk to anyone at those times.

Calling 911 is fine thing to do, but if that is the ONLY thing you are prepared to do, then you might want to rethink that strategy. (Hat Tip to It Ain’t Holy Water.)