Public Health

Do NOT call 911 in California

…unless you call from a land line.  If you call from your cell phone, you may be in for a busy signal or wait times of 20 minutes or more.  Why is this?  Emergency Management explains:

In California, all cellular 911 calls were initially routed to the California Highway Patrol (CHP), on the theory that most people calling 911 from a cell phone were on the road. But as cell phone use grew, it outstripped the CHP’s ability to handle all the incoming calls — and many of the callers were not, in fact, on a highway.

By 2007, almost three-quarters of wireless 911 calls were still going to the CHP. And 4.9 million cellular 911 calls in California — 42 percent of them — were either ringing busy or dropped. The CHP was forwarding many of the calls that did go through to local law enforcement agencies’ emergency call centers, also called public safety answering points (PSAP).

Obviously that causes a delay,” said Danita Crombach, communications manager with the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office.

What can you do to get a faster 911 response time.  One option is to call from a land line.  A second option is to look up the emergency contact numbers of the county in which live, work or visit frequently and add them to your cell phone.  A third option is to just move to another state with a more sensible 911 system.

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