New Hanover County 911 Center Explains What To Do While Waiting For Assistance | Old North State Wealth News
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New Hanover County 911 Center explains what to do while waiting for assistance

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — If you find yourself in an unsafe situation, the New Hanover County 911 Center wants to remind you about its guidelines for anyone who needs to call for assistance.

Earlier this week, a caller claimed they had trouble getting through to a 911 operator while trying to report a fire in their backyard.

New Hanover County 911 Center Director Hope Downs said there were no problems with the 911 system at the time the call was made.

Downs said one of the biggest things to remember when calling 911 is to remain on the line, even if you don’t get an operator right away.

“When we have an influx of 911 calls, typically it only lasts a few seconds or even a couple of minutes at most,” Downs said. “But what will happen is they will get a recording that says ‘This is New Hanover County 911, please stay on the line. The next available telecommunicator will answer your call.’ And it also mentions that if you hang up and call back, your call will be sent to the end of the 911 queue.”

Downs said the center will bring in more staff during peak times, which during the summer, starts around 9 am.

She adds that the center works hard to make sure callers aren’t waiting.

Last month, more than 96 percent of all calls were answered within 10 seconds or less, with an average answer time of under 3 seconds.

New Hanover County 911 Center Assistant Director Karen Benton said operators understand it can be difficult to wait for someone to answer in an emergency.

“The biggest takeaway is that we want our callers to know that we are getting to them as quickly as we possibly can,” Benton said. “Even though we are the line with another caller, we are getting alerted both visually and audibly that another call is waiting to get in. So we need them just to remain on the line. We understand that they are going through an emergency and that’s hard to do, but we just want to reassure them that we are there and that we’ll be on the line as quickly as we possibly can.”

Downs said the 911 center received several calls related to the fire within a matter of minutes of each other.



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