FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Imagine the nightmare of being in an emergency situation, calling 911 several times, and no one answering your calls. That is exactly what happened to Doreen Simac and her husband Daniel Torres after they were the victims of a hit-and-run crash.
Simac and Torres were near the intersection of Taft Street and North 46th Avenue when the driver struck them. Simac said they called 911 four times from two different phones before they decided to drive to the Hollywood Police Department to report the crime.
“What if it was an actual injury and somebody needed help,” Simac said.
The Broward Sheriff’s Office operates 911 dispatch for the city of Hollywood. According to deputies, when Simac and Torres called the call center received a 161% volume increase and it was something they were not anticipating.
“They were anticipating about 87 911 calls. Instead, they got 227 911 calls,” said Veda Coleman-Wright, a BSO public information officer, adding that with staff shortages there was no one to answer their calls and this is a nationwide problem.
Simac said she eventually received a call back from dispatch. Coleman-Wright is asking the public to only call 911 if it is an absolute emergency; use the non-emergency line instead.