Thursday, September 16, 2010

"All 911 Operators are Busy, Please Hold"

I was teaching tonight when a student frantically knocked on my classroom door. It seems a fellow student was having a seizure and he wanted to know where the medical services for the campus was located. I had a student give him a phone to call 911.

The phone rang and rang until he eventually got a recording that all 911 operators were busy and he'd have to hold. He gave up. Instead we looked up the number for campus police which then contacted emergency medical services.

I hope I don't have a heart attack while teaching. I wouldn't want to rely on a 911 call going through.


Downtown Indy said...

Perhaps a side effect of the consolidation of 911 services? The portion of that I am familiar with is Beech Grove having it's calls routed to the Speedway dispatch center -- 'to save money' in the words of the BG mayor. You know, the mayor who's administration failed to make over $900K in payments to the water company, despite having collected that money from residents and businesses for several years.

It is a sorry state of affairs when the city skimps on 911 services yet splurges on everything else.

guy77money said...

They used to have two 911operators that would dispatch the police calls on two side by side computer consoles. They knoocked it down to one operator for two computer consoles. The police were getting raises but the 911 and dispatch people had their pay frozen for a number of years. You have to wonder where did all that money go when they raised taxes?

american patriot said...

According to my sources the Beech Grove PSAP move to Speedway has not happened and the plans are not even on the horizon.
I once spent 8 min (timed on the cell phone) waiting to report a drunk driver to the CHP.

I always use this example when people say calling 911 is safer than carrying a gun for protection.

Hopefully some day the stove pipe mentality over physical public safety boundaries causing PSAPs to redirect calls to the "appropriate" agency will be ended. Any PSAP operator can take a 911 call and enter the data into the CAD, the system assigns responding units based on the agency that needs to respond, not who entered the run.

I ran into this a few years ago while calling in to report a man hitting a women in a truck driving up 465. They took the 136 exit, so my 911 call went to Speedway, but while I was giving the info to the dispatcher the truck headed west towards Clermont, so she transferred me to metro, which took about 2 minutes to accept the call and get my info.

Downtown Indy said...

While it is true any dispatcher can handle a call, knowledge of the call area the handle is also a factor. That can be learned, but a dedicated BG staff would have to have better 'fluency' as to the geography, alleyways and landmarks, which could be crucial when seconds count.

Incidentally when the dispatching system had BGFD integrated into it, the dispatching (computer-generated) began dispatching calls with 'coordinates' based on the Indianapolis grid, NOT the Beech Grove street grid. So calls for N 9th Ave would be heard as 4000 EAST and 2500 SOUTH rather than 900 WEST and 300 NORTH.

Last time I heard a dispatch for BG fire it was still that way.

american patriot said...

>>knowledge of the call area the handle is also a factor.

I agree, that's one of the big negative factors in combining the PSAPs, although I think that would be more applicable in a law enforcement / officer safety situation.

Consolidating the PSAPs makes a single point of failure situation much more possible. I wonder if anyone at MECA has done a drill to see how long it would take for them to shift the whole crew down to Perry?