Sunday, September 10, 2006

a request from a harried 911 operator

Because I didn't know this before I started working for 911...

If you dial 911, especially on a Friday or Saturday night, and you hear the recording that says "you have reached 911, all lines are busy, please do not hang up..." Please do not hang up! I think people don't realize it, but when they call and hang up, it doesn't hang up for us, and we have to call all of those hang ups back. So not only does it put the person who hangs up farther back in the queue, it also makes the hold time longer because we have to take the time to call all those hang ups back. If the hanger-upper would have just waited, they would have gotten help a lot sooner. It makes everyone else wait longer too. So that heart attack down the street from the shots fired is going to have wait to get help because of all the people calling and hanging up. And then there's the "we call back, but get a busy signal because they are calling us back, but we're so busy that they get the recording again so they hang up, and we have to call them again but get a busy signal because they're trying to call us" thing... I've seen people call 14 times before they actually spoke to someone. 14!!! And by then, we've got officers there because we had to send out the first time we got a busy signal. So for your own safety and that of your fellow citizens, please don't hang up :)


Julie said...

Well, you live and you learn! I didn't know not to hang up...but I think we've only called 911 once in 20 years (thank you, Lord!)

I can't imagine how stressful your job must be, but probably rewarding, as well.

Connie said...

I figured that a lot of people might not know not to hang up - I didn't before I started working at 911! And it really would make a difference if we could get less people who hang up on us.

For me the stressful things aren't the emergency things - armed robbery? no problem! Rollover accident? Just tell me where. Someone's been shot? I could handle that with my eyes closed. Those are rewarding to take, even though I don't wish those things to happen. I know I can get those people help, and that's the point. Someone's refusing to answer any questions and screaming "Just get here!"? GRRRRR THAT'S when I get stressed out :P Or when we've got 18 people answering calls, 40 calls holding, and more than half of them are hang-ups. That's not so unusual on a Friday or Saturday.