Firefighters Voice Concerns Over New 911 Call Center

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ)- Some Lexington firefighters are voicing concerns over what they say is a growing number of people being put on hold when calling 911.

The president of Lexington’s firefighters union took to twitter this week to criticize the new E911 center saying firefighters received several complaints from people who claim they were put on hold after calling 911.

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Krista Schrankler says she was put on hold after calling 911 when the mother of her church collapsed.

“Our mother had passed away shortly after that. So it was frustrating. We could have gotten her to the hospital, maybe they would have saved her life,” said Schrankler.

Now Lexington firefighters are taking a stand saying they’ve noticed an increase in incidents like Schrankler’s where 911 callers are being told to hold.

“Time is tissue. So one of the things that we want to, is we want to not delay any of our calls and just get there in a timely manner, you know, and I think the citizens of Fayette County are owed that and that’s what they’re due, that’s what they pay taxes for,” said Michael Moffit, treasurer of the Lexington Professional Firefighters.

Firefighters say they believe the problem started back when the fire and police dispatch centers merged to create Lexington’s new enhanced 911 center and they say they are now asking the city to work with them to find a solution.

“We want to be proactive, help the city come up with a plan to actually increase the standards to get E911 back on track or on track to deal with the issues and not being on hold,” said Moffit.

In a statement released Thursday, Lexington public safety commissioner Ronnie Bastin said, “Historically, 95 percent of 9-1-1 calls in Lexington are answered within 10 seconds. There are times when we have calls waiting for service… that was true for our old telephone system and it’s true now. it’s true for any sizable city in the country.”

But for people like Schrankler it’s still an issue that she thinks needs to be addressed.

“Not just the police officers, not just the fire department, not just all the emergency people but what we need is the whole community to come together and work with this and make it better for us,” said Schrankler.

The firefighters union says they filed a formal request for 911 data relating to calls placed on hold but did not receive any statistics from the call center.