Report reveals S.F. 911 dispatch center staffing shortage

A report found that 206 people hung up before their calls were answered in the first hour of a massive power outage


By EMS1 Staff

SAN FRANCISCO — A call for more 911 dispatchers arose after a massive power outage last month.

ABC7News reported that there are currently 121 dispatchers employed at the center; San Francisco Supervisor Aaron Peskin is working to determine how many more dispatchers are needed.

"The city has a goal of answering emergency 911 calls within 10 seconds 90 percent of the time," Peskin said. "We are woefully under that at about 74 percent. As far as I'm concerned, our number one priority is making sure our emergency call center is fully staffed."

A report found that 206 people hung up before their calls were answered in the first hour of the power outage. During the outage, 14 dispatchers should have been on duty; there were only 12 at the time. To handle the increase in calls, 60 should have been on duty; only six more came in.

"We are understaffed at the moment," Deputy Director for Emergency Communications Robert Smuts said. "We are not currently meeting our service standards. We have 40 trainees who will help us get there, though."

Peskin said the center needs to hire at least 60 new dispatchers.

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