Chesterfield resident questions 911 service after multiple unanswered calls

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WTVR) — A Chesterfield resident said they tried to report a downed power line three times Sunday, and it took several minutes before their call was answered.

According to the caller – who wished to remain anonymous – the first call went one minute before they decided to hang up. The next call went 43 seconds before they hung up again. Their third call was finally answered after a minute of ringing.

CBS 6 went to the Chesterfield call center for answers.

“What if this had been a heart attack or a fire? “How do you respond to the criticism that it took too long to answer the phone?” CBS 6 reporter Joe St. George asked Chesterfield Emergency Communications Director Richard Troshak.

“A preliminary investigation showed [Sunday] we had an unusually high call volume,” Troshak said.

“The average call volume per hour is about 70 phone calls – we had 150 phone calls [around noon Sunday] 50 of which were in a 15 minute time period,” Troshak added.

The apparent influx of activity was related to two  emergencies in heavily populated areas.

Troshak did not suggest that Sunday’s delay in answering calls was an indication that his department needs more staffing or new technology.

“We answer our 911 calls, on average, in under ten seconds,” Troshak said.

Troshak reminded callers that they should never hang up, even if the phone rings for over a minute.

“If you hang up the phone and then call back you are putting yourself in queue behind other callers,”he added.

4 comments

  • Ashleigh Sampson

    I think it’s sad that all this publicity was over a missed 911 call. Nevertheless, it was about a downed power line. For those ignorant and inconsiderate individuals whom are not, nor have ever been in the Law Enforcement field, we do get busy with other IMPORTANT calls. In most, if not all, call centers we are severely understaffed to handle the volume of calls. Have you ever considered this? We are not sitting on our thumbs goofing around (although most of you think that we are!) So, in conclusion, try broadcasting REAL news and not this bull shit filler that no one really cares about. And while you are at it….get your facts straight!! WTVR really needs to stop hounding Law Enforcement officials because you WILL need us before we will EVER need you.

  • Paula Kennedy

    1st thing….a downed power line does not need to be called in to the 911 call center. Call the non-emergency number for this type of things or Dominion Power. 2nd…Ashleigh, IF you work in the law enforcement business, I would hate to have you responding to any complaint/situation I may have. You are truly acting like a 2 year throwing a tantrum over a news article. Clearly people expect a little quicker response time when they call in. If this had truly been an emergency, seconds count and this much time listening to a phone go unanswered is truly a scary thing!

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