Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Another Problem with '911" Calls in Nashville

Couple Displeased By 911 Response Time Husband, Wife Mugged Downtown Reported By Marc Stewart POSTED: 1:45 pm CDT May 14, 2008 UPDATED: 2:45 pm CDT May 14, 2008 NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- A Nashville couple was mugged on a downtown city street, and they aren't pleased with the response time from 911. The victims said it took almost five minutes for anyone to answer their call. "I was just about to swipe (my security card,) when the guy put me in a headlock and threw me on the ground right here," victim Ben Bahil. Bahil said he was attacked from behind, put in a headlock and thrown to the ground as he was about to enter a building. He called 911 for help but someone didn’t pick up his call until four minutes and 28 seconds later. "Four minutes is ridiculously long for someone to answer the phone at 911," said Bahil. He and his wife were not hurt, but he wonders what would have happened if the situation was more serious. "If one of us had been bleeding, if one of us had been hurt severely, four minutes can mean the difference of life and death in some situations," said Bahil. If there is a delay in the 911 system, there is a goal set for answering in no more than 90 seconds. Amanda Sluss of the office of emergency management said that, "People should absolutely have confidence in the 911 system." According to 911 dispatch officials, when this happened at 1 a.m. two weekends ago, the 911 center was getting a spike in calls. During the 15 minutes before Bahil dialed, Sluss said they were handling several emergencies, including a suicide attempt and an officer needing assistance. They said 27 calls came during that period, seven of which were hang-ups that required call backs. "This situation that we're talking about here, when you're referring to when you have these great spikes in 911 calls is not a staffing issue. We're dealing with technology, and we're dealing with the fact that sometimes there are major incidents," said Sluss. "It's not that, we can't have 50, 40 call takers at any given time. We don't have that staffing, but we don't have those numbers to be able to staff." Bahil said he doesn't like that explanation and will push for change. "Until it is (changed,) my advice is to anyone living in Davidson County is try not to have a life threatening emergency," said Bahil. Currently there is no permanent director of the Davidson County 911, but a national search is being conducted to fill the position. Please watch this video. Copyright 2008 by All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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