You Won't Believe What's Happening To 9-1-1 Callers In Portland
Portland has been a hotspot for rioting and general havoc for the past two years now. But for some reason, people continue to live there. But now there is a new issue, Portland Emergency Services can no longer keep up with the demands of its residents. This has led to people who are in emergencies being put on hold for sometimes up to 9 minutes. That has to feel like an eternity during a crisis.
"People calling 911 to report a Sept. 4 shootout at a Pearl District restaurant and other emergencies in the following half-hour waited an average of more than 7.5 minutes before a dispatcher answered.
The lengthy hold time is far above the national standard of 15 to 20 seconds for 911 calls and the latest example of serious problems plaguing the city’s emergency dispatch system.
One man on social media complained that he was on hold for more than 9 minutes when he tried to report the shooting at Everybody Eats PDX. The Oregonian/OregonLive then sought public records from emergency dispatch to check what happened.
Bob Cozzie, director of Portland’s Bureau of Emergency Communications, acknowledged the unacceptable delay and said it’s time for the city to start considering routing non-emergency calls elsewhere or other solutions.
“I think it’s horrible. There’s no other way to state it,” he said."
"The bureau tracks average 911 call answer times by month to gauge its track record. The data shows an average hold time of a minute. But it also shows a dramatic increase of 911 calls on hold for two minutes or longer starting in late spring and summer."
Another striking jump of calls on hold for more than five minutes occurred in May and July, according to bureau figures released to the newsroom.
Compared to March, when only eight 911 calls took more than five minutes to answer, that number increased to 221 in May and more than doubled to 574 in July.
Compared to a year ago, the bureau has experienced a 20% to 45% increase in 911 calls so far this year depending on the week.
During July, for example, people made a total of 63,573 calls to 911. That represented a 22% jump from July 2020, according to bureau data. For comparison, 911 calls in July 2020 represented only a 2 percent increase over July 2019.
Cozzie said more than a dozen employees have retired, taken leaves of absence, been promoted or resigned over the past six months.
Current staff also are still in training on new medical and fire triage protocols that are intended to cut down on the number of fire trucks sent to low-level medical calls, he said.
“We’re at a tipping point now. It’s become unmanageable,” he said. “The system is broken.”
A 9 minute wait time... If things are that bad, then you are better off loading the injured person into your car and driving them to the hospital yourself. Nine minutes just to let first responders know there is an issue, that's not including the time it takes for an ambulance to get there. And every second counts in an emergency.