The dire need for more 911 call-takers was highlighted this week in Fort Worth, after a mother shared how she couldn’t get anyone to help her on the line. All this was happening while her daughter needed treatment urgently, as WFAA reports.
What are the details?
Jamie Haswell shared her shocking story on social media and the details are enough to make anyone living in Fort Worth worry about who’s going to come and help if an emergency happens.
The woman said that she called 911 as soon as she discovered her 2-year-old daughter was unresponsive. Unfortunately, no one was there to pick up her call.
Instead of getting to talk to a dispatcher and explaining what happened, the mother spent three valuable minutes simply listening to a recording. She also shared that when her neighbors tried to call the same thing happened to them too.
“I did the next best thing, which was run into the street and just started screaming for help. Nobody got a live person initially, and to me, that’s not acceptable,” Haswell said, according to the news outlet.
In the end a neighbor drove Haswell and her little girl to urgent care. After getting there it was discovered her daughter had had a febrile seizure. She will be ok, and the doctors expect her to recover very soon.
Fort Worth Police Officer Tracy Carter revealed to WFAA on Tuesday that there are about 10 call-takers in the department for the 911 line. However, 35 more would be needed at the very least to be able to handle the high volume of calls for help.
According to the Fort Worth Police Department, hiring additional staff for the 911 line has been challenging. It was also slow, and it got entangled with the pandemic rules and precautions.
“Because of this, staffing in our call center has not been able to keep pace with employee attrition and our rapid population growth. This has led to understaffing issues which have, in some limited cases, translated to a slowed or delayed response to our citizens who are attempting to reach emergency services. We apologize for this disservice and recognize that 911 services must remain intact, especially in the face of difficult challenges,” is the statement made by the department for the news outlet.