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Hang Up Calls a Headache For Dispatchers -- Sky Arnold


Inside a room of monitors dispatchers like Lori Bentley take critical calls every day.

When Fox 17 was inside Wednesday afternoon there were only dispatchers working so if 11 people called at once someone has to wait.

That happened a lot Monday night when a plane crashed behind the Bellevue YMCA.

What followed left as many as 50 calls on hold.

"It's normal for people to hang up when they don't get someone right away and call back," said Operations Manager Kristi Carter.
 
Carter says that's a problem because her dispatchers are required to not only route police to the area but call those hang-up callers back three times.

Some of the callers told dispatchers they hung up because they were on hold so long while others felt the need had passed because they saw ambulances arriving.

Carter says it doesn't matter if you see ambulances heading to the scene, her dispatchers will still need to call you back and potentially route police in your direction.

Dispatchers are required to make three call backs.

It all ties up valuable time for a limited number of dispatchers who may be needed elsewhere.

"Potentially somebody with another emergency can't get through and there's life saving instructions we could be giving that person but instead they're waiting on hold," said Carter.