We all know, and we even teach our children, that if there’s an emergency, call 911. Someone will answer and will send help. That’s not what happened to one person who called with an emergency. This is bad.
Recently, someone placed a call to 911 and was put on hold for about three minutes. Then, when the 911 operator came back, he fell asleep about 30 seconds into the call.
The caller asks for medical help, and the 911 operator asks for an address. After the caller explains his location, the 911 operator begins snoring. When he wakes up again, he asks what the caller needs: medical, police or fire. The caller gets frustrated and says medical again. Then it appears that another operator came on the line and the called asks to speak with a supervisor.
The Houston Emergency Center, where the call took place, said they are looking into the matter.
“Joe Laud, the administration manager for the Houston Emergency Center told ABC13 that employees are having to work overtime to make sure the calls get answered due to staff shortage. A call taker we interviewed last week said he has been working 12-hour shifts, five days a week for the past six months,” reports ABC 13.
Laud said “Right now, we have about 140 call takers. But at the same time, we are about 35-40% down.”
The Houston Emergency Center sent a statement to ABC 13 that says, “HEC is investigating the allegation of a sleeping call taker while on a 911 call and working to conclude the investigation at which time appropriate personnel action(s) will be taken as indicated by the investigation. In regards to HEC’s shortage of call takers in general, this is a nationwide industry issue and HEC is not immune. HEC is making all efforts to ramp up recruitment and selection process to attract and train additional personnel.
It’s frightening to think you might call 911 and not get the help you need. Have you ever had to call 911? How did your call go?