Coitsville warns of 911 delays
For some communities such as Coitsville Township, Mahoning County’s fire dispatching service is “in a critical stage,” with abnormally long delays caused by a call-routing system that is “costing lives.”
Coitsville Fire Department Chief George Brown presented that issue during a Mahoning County commissioners meeting Monday evening at the township hall.
Recently, a township resident performed CPR for 24 minutes on an unresponsive parent while waiting for township responders to be dispatched, he said. On a recent fire call, mutual aid departments such as Campbell, Hubbard, Poland and Pulaski Township weren’t dispatched for 26 minutes, he said.
As the majority of 911 calls are now made by cell phone, they’re picked up by the nearby cellular tower with the strongest signal. For a Coitsville Township 911 call — which ultimately needs to reach Boardman Township’s 911 center — that tower often ends up being in Trumbull County, Brown said.
The calls are then forwarded to one of myriad ambulance dispatchers serving the township or its mutual aid departments, he said.
The department recommends township residents don’t even call 911, rather the 10-digit number for LifeFleet or the Boardman 911 dispatchers.
“If your house is on fire, think about the time it’s taking just to get people on the road to help you,” Brown said. “It’s a problem throughout the county.”
Read MORE in Tuesday's VINDICATOR.