Investigation into how many 911 calls are put on hold

In April we heard a caller put on hold trying to report a big fire. And we've seen it happen in other emergencies. So we investigated the number of 911 calls and the number put on hold.

We found in April, 665 911 callers were put on hold.  More than a thousand non-emergency callers too, all in one month.

But the city argues in the month of April, more than 50,000 calls came in to dispatchers.

And on average the number of 911 calls put on hold was slightly less than one per hour.

Something else to consider for major incidents:  lots of people usually call about the same thing. But if you're making the call, you don't know someone else is too.

The city says the average wait for callers in April was about 3 seconds.  But a big problem in the 911 center has been short staffing.  And no matter how you spin the numbers--in emergencies-- any time on hold feels like forever.

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