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Dallas Puts in Place Additional 911 Call Takers; Continues Investigation into Problem

20 March 2017, 06:48 | Darin Griffith

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But officials said Thursday that it was actually abandoned 911 calls that were a source of the problem.

A number of reports have indicated the 911 call centers in Dallas were hit by a spike in calls from T-Mobile that overwhelmed their systems and making it hard for callers to connect with the help they need. Rawlings, however, was unable to explain why the sense of urgency didn't come sooner.

"We can never let it be understaffed at 911, and I think over the years we have been", Rawlings said. "I'm very disappointed with that".

"What I'm upset about is, between T-Mobile and city management, we didn't move fast enough to get to the heart of it", said Mayor Mike Rawlings.

At one point, Taffet was disconnected. Paramedics promptly arrived after he finally got through but his husband later died at a hospital. This means the emergency call center begins receiving hand-up calls from that same number and the loop can continue to happen over and over. Abandoned calls happen when a caller hangs up before reaching a 911 call-taker.

The problem of ghost calls first emerged last fall.

City officials confirmed the babysitter used a T-Mobile device. For example, T-Mobile engineers have disabled a function where if a person calls 911 and doesn't make contact with a dispatcher, then the phone will automatically generate a follow-up call, she said. What was the eventual outcome and response from emergency services?

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Earlier this week, Dallas officials initially blamed T-Mobile for its ongoing problems, saying the carrier's phones were somehow overwhelming the 911 system.

The City of Dallas reported that T-Mobile phones were spontaneously dialing 911 leaving a babysitter unable to reach 911 on Sat., March 11, 2017, because their lines were swamped that evening. "There's no excuse that T- Mobile can give me because my son is gone". "There is something unique in this complex, this system here, that we have not been able to identify".

Rawlings told FOX 4 he was not aware that other cities had experienced problems similar to those in Dallas.

Dallas officials have promised to continue providing additional staffing support to the 911 call center and urged its residence to stay on the line if they are put on hold when calling because hanging up sends the caller to the back of the queue and causes further delays. "Whether it was the pitcher who was pitching too fast or the catcher couldn't catch the ball, still the ball was dropped, and we've got to move on and make sure it doesn't get dropped".

The Federal Communications Commission doesn't release tallies on how often 911 service is interrupted. Forgety mentioned a case investigated by Phoenix police in which a teenager tweeted a link that contained coding that caused iPhones to repeatedly dial 911. AT&T cellphone customers in Texas and other states were unable to call 911 for a time on March 8.

"We remain completely committed to solving this issue and have been working daily with the Dallas [911 center] to find a permanent solution to this problem".



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