Electronics Form Part of Your Infrastructure

And anyone who purchased a smartphone in the past 5 years knows that technology isn’t cheap. Public safety committee considering new Hawkins Co. emergency communication equipment after major malfunctions.

As Miller explained, Hawkins Co.’s radio communication equipment, which is used by law enforcement, EMS and fire departments within the county, has been malfunctioning off and on since the beginning of November and has been completely offline since Dec. 18.

Nothing lasts forever, and that includes electronic communications gear. In this case, however, while they talk about recent outages, it isn’t clear that the radio system deployed ever really lived up to what the county needed.

Areas around Clinch and Slate Hill had poor to no service even when the communication was properly functioning.

Replacing the radio system will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

When you call 911 for a crime situation, you are counting on police to come and save your ass, but if officers can’t communicate with each other, or the 911 dispatch center, there are so many more opportunities for things to go wrong. They will move slow, and they may not have all the messages you’ve given the dispatcher. You don’t have to imagine all the ways that can go bad, all you have to do is read the news.

911 Response: 20 Minutes in Austin, 2 Hours in Fargo

If your plan in the event of bad things happening is to call 911, you probably should come up with a plan for what are you going to do while you wait?

First up, Austin, Texas. Austin Police Open Internal Investigation Into South Congress Stabbing.

It’s unclear at this point whether or not the total response time – 20 minutes from when 911 was called until the officer arrived on-scene – is unusual for an early Monday morning call, but an APD spokesperson confirmed to the Chronicle that the internal review would also look at that question

Shift change? Who knows. (Not them.)

Then there is the problem of snow storms. It took deputies 2 hours to respond to a domestic during a blizzard. Now the sheriff’s buying a plow.

Somehow I thought this would have been taken care of by now.

Cass County Sheriff Jesse Jahner said he was “nervous” during the raging Dec. 29 blizzard when his department had a call from a woman in the rural part of the county who said she and her young child were hiding in the bathroom from her husband during a domestic dispute.

Because of the weather, they had to call out a county employee to drive a snow plow. Now they are going to have their own on the front of a pickup.

The sheriff had actually budgeted for this item, but he switched to a “v-blade” after that incident, which costs more, so he needed an extra 3 grand or so.

Calling 911 is a fine thing to do, but they won’t be there in an instant. You should plan for what you are going to do in the meantime. You may be waiting a long time.

The Future Is Stupid

UPDATE: OK that link is toast. Try this… Homeowners in North Carolina called 911 to report an intruder. It turned out to be a rogue Roomba. Quotes might not be the same…

What has happened to the people of this country? Couple calls 911 on intruder that turns out to be their Roomba.

Minutes after they called 911, police entered the home and began to search for an intruder. When the 911 operator told Milam to go downstairs to talk to the police, he said, the officers just had one question.

“Is this Roomba yours?”

Police had apprehended the suspect: the couple’s brand new robotic vacuum.

Stop the world, I want to get off.

20 Minute Wait After 911 Call

Took 3 tries just to get a real person. Miami Woman’s 911 Call Sent to Voicemail Twice.

OK. Not really voicemail. Just the “Please hold on” message because you’re in a queue. (Note: You should NOT hang up and call back, you will be – once again – dumped to the back of the queue.)

Once they got through, the emergency crew took a wrong turn.

As for the 20-minute response time, emergency responders literally took a wrong turn. Carroll says they turned down NE 69th Street, right off Biscayne Boulevard, when they should have continued to NE 76th Street. The responders were forced to turn around and travel a few blocks north. The result was a response time more than double the city’s average of eight to ten minutes.

Everything worked out OK, but it could have been much different.

Calling 911 is fine thing to do. They can send all kinds of help your way. But the “system” is in large part made up of people, and people make mistakes. You should probably consider what you would do, during that time you are waiting, and you should think about all the different situations that might cause you to call 911. (Need First Aid. A Fire. A violent crime. Etc.)

What If You Called 911, And They Sent Rescuers to The Wrong Address?

The “system” is mostly people, after all. Dispatch error causes delayed response to house fire in Montgomery County.

Last week, a call went in for the report of smoke to 2005 Prichard Road in Wheaton. Officials say when the initial dispatch went out, the dispatcher misunderstood the caller and entered the address as 2005 Piccard Drive in Rockville. As a result, Montgomery County Fire and Rescue crews responded to the wrong address, delaying their response time.

This was fire; it could have been police just as easily.

Officials are “reviewing” to make sure this doesn’t happen again. Good luck with. “Humans working here are not allowed to make mistakes.”

Calling 911 is a fine thing to do, they can send all kinds of help your way, but that help won’t arrive instantly. Maybe you need something in you plan, in addition to “Call 911.”

SFPD Cooks the Books on 911 Response Time

They aren’t the first, and probably won’t be the last, department to do so. SFPD finds crime response times longer than thought. So it adds to its goal.

For years San Francisco has been clocking the average response time to serious crimes at 5.5 minutes, when in fact it takes a median time of 7 minutes from when the 911 call is made for police to arrive on the scene, according to revised calculations just released in a joint Police Department and city controller’s report.

So since they are making it to “serious crimes” in 7 minutes they set a stretch goal of being there in 8 minutes. (Way to beat those metrics!)

This article is not clear at all, but that minute and a half are usually time for the call to be answered, relevant data to be collected. (Place, nature of help needed) and for a cop to be dispatched. Travel time of the cop to the scene will depend on traffic, etc.

Continual improvement? Not so much. Resting on your laurels? Maybe, though if you are penalized for not meeting goals, they should be goals you have a chance to meet, and the circumstances should be completely in you control. (Traffic is not something that is in an officer’s control.)

Never Underestimate the Power of Human Stupidity

Your missing a meeting is NOT a freaking emergency. Woman calls 911 for ’emergency ride service’ after taxi fails to show. And while this is Toronto, do you think it is any better in New York?

She was told to call another cab.

While most people would chuckle and simply shake their heads, police say these types of calls tie up valuable resources and actually increases the risk of public safety.

“It delays the response time for police, firefighters, paramedics to attend actual emergencies,” adds Const. Sarah Patten.

Const. Akhil Mooken says police received more than 180,000 improper calls from the start of January to the end of October this year.

Those 180,000 calls have to be answered by people who should be dealing with violent crimes, fires or medical emergencies.

The quote that forms the title to this post is from the novel Time Enough for Love, by Robert A. Heinlein, published in 1973.

The Way 911 Is Supposed to Work

But seldom does. Armed robbery suspects in custody minutes after stickup.

Two masked miscreants enter a store and point guns at the clerk behind the register. A second clerk hid, and dialed 911. Cops converged on the area.

[Thomasville Police Department Criminal Investigations Division commander, Lt. Toby] Knifer said that as the trooper approached the men, they ran through the soccer field. Lindquist entered from the other side of the field on Ben Grace Drive.

“The trooper was pushing suspects straight to him (Lindquist),” Knifer said.

The suspects reached Lindquist’s location, were ordered to the ground and held at gunpoint.

Handguns and money were recovered from the men. Knifer said police believe they also recovered the money taken from the store.

The men were in custody at 7:47, less than five minutes after the 911 call.

They were tied to a similar robbery in a neighboring jurisdiction, and are facing charges for that as well.

Calling 911 rarely works out this well, or at least when it does, it doesn’t end up in the news. So hats off to Thomasville, Georgia police department, for being on top of their game, and for getting 2 miscreants, who might have probably would have killed someone soon enough, off the street.

In Any Other Part of Texas, Someone Probably Would Shoot This Guy

But this was deep blue Austin. South Austin neighborhood concerned with APD response time to machete wielding man attempting to break into homes. Oh, and also, don’t have an emergency at shift-change.

So a guy is trying to break into homes, and someone calls 911. 23 minutes later, cops arrive. The good, apparently unarmed, citizens of Austin are upset to discover that when seconds count, cops are minutes away.

As for the shift-change…

“He told me that I called at shift change and it would’ve taken longer to dispatch someone from a different area,” the neighbor said. “I wish that they had just responded quicker.”

You know that shift-change excuse might have made sense in 1930, when the best way to communicate was face-to-face, but cops need to figure out how to get any announcements made via technology, and stagger start times, so that there is always some minimum level of coverage.

Call 911, Get a Runaround

Calling 911 is a fine thing to do, if it happens to be supported where you live. It apparently isn’t everywhere. Aleknagik break-in puts lack of local law enforcement in spotlight.

A woman notices a man “climbing a ladder” toward her kitchen window. She bangs on the window to let him know the house is occupied and calls 911.

But when Moore got through to the operator, she was told the Dillingham police department couldn’t dispatch officers to the lake.

“I was given the trooper number, so I called the trooper and those calls at night are dispatched out to a different community,” Moore said. “So he then tried to get ahold of the on-call trooper in Dillingham who was unfortunately out of town, and he was in King Salmon.”

As Moore juggled calls between the troopers and people who lived close by, she stood at the top of her stairs, pointing a gun down the steps. At one point, she heard glass shattering and started yelling again.

This is Alaska, and on a website that says “Rural Alaska.” But I think you would want to know if 911 is available in your area, and not just assume.

“And that’s a frustrating feeling because we’re raised to call 911,” she said.

Gee, a government program that doesn’t work quite as well as advertised. Color me shocked.

Even in a city, in the lower 48, the cops are not going to arrive instantly. You might still find yourself pointing a gun down the stairs, or wishing you could.

Calling 911 is a fine thing to do, but you should know if it is going to work before an emergency presents itself. And even if it is available in your area, doesn’t mean that people won’t make mistakes, that other emergencies might come ahead of you, or just good-ole lack-of-resources to get to you. At least get to you in a reasonable time.

Ransomware vs 911 Call Center – Nobody Wins

Hard to quantify the cost of an outage when it can cost lives. Ransomware attack may be affecting 911, emergency dispatch in Jasper Co.

Earlier this week it was confirmed Jasper County had a cyber attack on their countywide systems, including email and emergency response systems.

At that time, county officials said 911 and emergency dispatch services were not having any issues as a result of the cyberware attack. Now, that may not be the case.

Color me shocked. A politician isn’t telling the truth. OR, a politician who doesn’t actually know what is going on.

A system that was formerly automatic (in terms of locating addresses) is now reverted to manual. Causing delays.

First responders say every second the county or city response teams are not responding to a call, someone’s life could be put at risk.

“To do that by hand, to take that extra time it could cost someone their life.”

At least the system wasn’t knocked out completely, as it was in other areas. Still, it might be good to have a plan B. Like know some first aid, or have the local police and fire numbers in your phone.

What If You Dialed 911 and Couldn’t Get Through?

You can also file this under, “No one does proper systems design anymore.” UPDATE: Miscommunication is to blame for the 5 hour outage in NC Friday morning.

Redundancy? That’s expensive. Besides, the network is ALWAYS there. Until it isn’t.

So they needed to relocate fiber optic cables because a bridge is being built. So far so good. These kinds of things happen. Which means, the people who build critical infrastructure need to be aware of single points of failure. Of course the people doing the moving of communications infrastructure should figure out if it is CRITICAL to public safety before the pull the plug. But all that documentation is hard to go thru, and how critical can it be, anyway? Oh, it is just the ability of a big part of North Carolina to reach 911. What could go wrong?

911 services in six North Carolina counties and the Cherokee Tribal reservation have been restored after a five-hour outage.

I hope no one had a heart attack, or had to deal with an attacker overnight.

Calling 911 is a fine thing to do, but you should be aware that the system isn’t perfect. You should have a plan B.

30 Minute Delay After 911 Call

What happens when you underpay your 911 call-center staff, and have the resulting turnover”? Resolve delays with dispatch system quickly.

When you call 911 in an emergency, you expect that help is coming with lights and sirens as fast as possible. If there is a 30 minute wait inserted into the system, you might want to plan something aside from just calling 911. Because after that 30 minutes, it still took some minutes for cops to drive to the location in question.

the dispatcher took 30 minutes to contact Natchez Police about the suspected abduction case.

The 911 management?

Emergency management officials said the dispatcher was new to the job and made an error.

Yeah, that makes it all OK. At least in this case, it turned out to be a false alarm. (Due to a language barrier.) What about next time?

When Seconds Count, Paramedics Are Only Minutes Away

New Jersey is taking an interesting step. WHEN EVERY SECOND COUNTS: Volunteers Get Emergency Care Training.

Since paramedics can’t be everywhere, and it will take them time to reach people in an emergency, they are deploying volunteers with training and the correct tools. In this case, that is a defibrillator, oxygen, and a “comprehensive” first aid kit.

I wonder if New Jersey will make the same connection about “When seconds count…” and police. Probably not. This is New Jersey, after all. Well, a small section of New Jersey, anyway.

So is this the medical militia?

When Police Interfere in a Medical Emergency

Because they want to interrogate a woman having a seizure. On the ground and suffering a seizure, a Palo Alto woman pleaded to be taken to the hospital. But police kept paramedics from helping her for 14 long minutes.

Hey, if you can’t answer their questions, you are either drunk or disrespecting their authority.

In a cascading series of mistakes and violations of city of Palo Alto policies, it took more than 40 minutes to get a Palo Alto resident to the hospital

The city is stonewalling, because lawsuits are in the offing. If she’d been having a stroke, she’d be dead, or have permanent brain damage. “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”

Once the officer decided that it was OK to allow medical attention an illegal search was undertaken. Rights? We don’t need no stinkin’ rights!

And in case your geography is lacking, Palo Alto is smack in the middle of Silicon Valley, about half way between San Jose and San Francisco. It is one of the most expensive places to live in one of the most expensive areas of the country. I couldn’t have afforded to live there 35 years ago. (You are not protected by you zip code. Not even from insanity.)

Politicians Acting Against a Whistle-blower, and Being Generally Corrupt?

JusticeThat would never happen. Would it? Judge: Cincinnati police captain’s federal lawsuit can proceed against city, police chief.

If you follow news about the sorry state of 911 centers around the country, the way I do, you will eventually see some jurisdiction somewhere congratulating themselves on being ready to handle these newfangled cellular telephones. Because even though they collect taxes or fees on every cellphone bill specifically to support 911 services, there was no provision in the law to say that those taxes had to be spent on 911 services. So, in large part, for generations, they weren’t.

Butler claims in his original lawsuit, filed in September 2017, he was retaliated against after he raised questions about how the city spent its 911 fees and grant dollars while he was overseeing the Emergency Communications Center from Jan. 3, 2016 to Jan. 1, 2017.

That’s when he says he was moved and stripped of his managerial duties with virtually no notice.

And it seems that the fix was in, and not just on 911 fees. A friend of the mayor had a company that was basically skimming 15 percent of all city purchases. (Hey, it was service fee. Or something.)

Grab some popcorn. This should be an interesting bit of depositions and discovery. Because even though I believe that the fix is in, I’m not sure that the politicians in Cincinnati can twist a federal judge’s arm. In Chicago, I would believe that City Hall had that kind of power, but I just don’t see that Cincinnati is that organized.

An Hour Wait for Police After Attack

And the bad guys came back during that hour. ‘This is terrible right where I live’ Portsmouth veteran concerned about safety, police response time after attack.

They saw a man being attacked.

“I jumped out to try and help the guy, grabbed him and put him in the back of my truck,” the man said. “He couldn’t hardly walk at all.”

The man didn’t want to be identified, but he says he called 911 and waited with the victim so he wouldn’t be in the street alone. Before police responded, the same group of men came back.

Eight calls to 911 and an hour later, cops finally show up. During those eight calls, he asked 911 “where do I go?” They said, “We can’t give you any info about that.” So they were COMPLETELY useless. Worse than useless, because the Left and their insistence on “just call 911” has convinced everyone that they don’t need concealed carry. Oh and he tried to flag down 2 cop cars that drove by, but they just kept going.

Cops won’t arrive immediately, but an hour wait for a situation like this seems extreme. Calling 911 is a fine thing to do, but it may not turn out the way you expect. So you should plan what you are going to do besides call 911.

3/4 of Calls to 911 Are in Error

At least in Orangeville, Ontario. Oops is no excuse: You’d be surprised how many 911 calls Dufferin OPP receives in error or by accident.

Nearly three-quarters of the time 911 has been dialed in its jurisdiction this year, Dufferin OPP has responded to learn that the call was made in error or by accident.

From January to Aug. 31, Dufferin OPP Const. Shannon Gordanier reports that officers have responded to a total of 413 calls made to 911 — of those calls, police report 307, or 75 per cent, were made in error.

Those 75 percent of calls need to be investigated. Which means those services aren’t available for real emergencies.

An Hour Wait for an Ambulance After 911 Call

I usually write about 911 response time and police, but this hits the topic of “socialized medicine.” EMS staffing emergency results in response time delays.

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So this is from Eastern Kentucky, but once you get away from major metro areas, the same conditions apply in a lot of the country. Long waits for ambulance services in response to a 911 call.

One aspect many may not realize, is the reimbursements ambulance services receive.

“Oftentimes, your 911 provider, and it doesn’t matter if it’s our company or if it’s the company in the next county over, we operate at a loss. It’s because of some of our Medicaid reimbursements,” said Absher.

After the cost of medical supplies, trucks, and other important items, outweigh the profit of a call.

So the .gov doesn’t pay the cost of an ambulance ride, and then people are surprised that there aren’t 100s of companies lining up to be put out of business by the .gov. Only someone in government could set up a payment system designed like this. Someone with no contact with the real world.

“Medicare for all” would sink every one of the ambulance services that try to cover medicare patients with the profit from other patients. Unintended consequences? At some point you have to believe that the idiots in government (while clearly idiotic) are not that completely stupid. They want something to fail, so there’s an excuse to take more control.

They Blame Technology When It’s Really Management

What happens when you micromanage people to the nth degree? Minneapolis drops controversial 911 answering software.

They quit.

Management of Minneapolis’s 911 call center spent $730,000 dollars on a system, and training, to take all humanity out of the 911 call center.

ProQA prompts dispatchers to ask specific questions, in a specific order, based on different emergency situations.

Which might be fine if it worked OK.

Sampson-Spande said her two decades of experience often told her to ask different questions, in a different order, than what the software was giving her. And, she worried not following the program would have eventually led to losing her job.

“I felt like I was deciding, do I want to keep my job and be compliant?, Or, do I want to help somebody?, And I don’t feel like I should be in that position,” she said

So she quit. And she wasn’t alone. Turnover has become an issue because who wants to work under those conditions?

And the cops didn’t like it either, but for the simple reason that they were not getting the information they required.

Bob Kroll with the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis said the union also has concerns about ProQA. Kroll said he’s most alarmed by officers arriving at scenes without knowing suspect descriptions because dispatchers haven’t gotten to those questions yet in the line of questioning.

Because why should the management of the 911 center talk to cops about what questions need to be asked in what order? That’s just CRAZY talk. The manager of the 911 center (bet’s on if they were brought in to “fix” something?) knows best. No one else gets any input whatsoever.

They blame technology up one side and down the other, but it is management who bought that software, spent money on training, and held on for two years while things went downhill. (Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt.) They do mention an “interim manager” for the 911 center, so maybe they canned whoever had this brainchild.

When you call 911 you are interacting with a system of people and software, radios, computers, etc. Sometimes that system will work well. But when the management sets things up so that people don’t want to (or are unable) to do the job, then things might not work out for you. This could be because the software is awful, the people are untrained, whatever. In this case, the software was clearly awful, and high turnover meant that the people were not experienced. And Minneapolis didn’t meet 911 national standards for answering calls.