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Kansas City's 911 hold times are double national standard, getting worse

If you make an emergency call for help in Kansas City, be prepared to wait.KCTV5 News has taken a closer look ...

Posted: Feb 18, 2018 11:55 AM
Updated: Feb 18, 2018 11:55 AM

If you make an emergency call for help in Kansas City, be prepared to wait.

KCTV5 News has taken a closer look at all the records for 911 for past three years, and it's eye-opening.

Twenty-three seconds is the average amount of time people waited just to connect with a real person to say they have an emergency and help. This is for car crashes, fires and crimes where people who need medical help. The day after Christmas, someone waited more than 19 minutes just sitting on hold.

Almost every call in Kansas City gets put on hold, and you wait.

KCTV5 has done numerous reports from people who question if waiting for help became a critical tipping point for their loved ones.

"I always wondered if maybe they could have saved him, but I'll never know, and it's too late now," Teresa Tschirhart said.

"You expect 911 to help you and not be put on hold," Tony Shaw said.

Others simply shared their frustration that this isn't how 911 should work saying they expect help and not a recording.

The national standard is 90-percent of all emergency calls should be answered in 10 seconds or less. However, that's not the case in Kansas City. It hasn't been for years, and it's getting worse.

In 2015, the average hold was 14 seconds. In2016, it grew to 16 seconds. Last year's average was 23 seconds.

Wait times have more than doubled what national standards outline as acceptable.

KCTV5 has covered the real-life reaction to these wait times where people just give up and run for help or head to fire stations in a panic begging for help. We've been crunching data realizing averages can hide big problems.

Every month, KCTV5 analyzes the extreme hold times in this city, it is growing, too.

In 2015, the longest wait time, on any given day, was more than four minutes. In 2016, that number grew, and last year it crossed in the five-minute mark. However, even those averages don't fully show what can happen if you call 911 in a busy moment on a rough day.

The day after Christmas, someone sat on hold for 19 minutes and 28 seconds. The police department originally requested more than $1 million to hire 21 call takers to fix the problem. But, the new proposed budget only includes extra money for eight new positions.

KCTV5 requested data for all the other police departments in our area including Overland Park, Kansas City, KS, the Cass County Sheriff's Office and Lee's Summit. No other police department had a hold time problem like Kansas City, MO. The other departments were within national safety standards.

If you call for help, be prepared to wait and don't hang up thinking you can call back and get someone. You will just move to the back of the line.

A local citizen's group is concerned with the number of new call takers positions. They have written Gov. Eric Greitens begging for more intervention and help.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 604052

Reported Deaths: 7616
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1248161773
Ramsey52466895
Dakota46797470
Anoka42724458
Washington27406291
Stearns22552224
St. Louis18134312
Scott17544135
Wright16405148
Olmsted13390102
Sherburne1200195
Carver1066148
Clay825692
Rice8187110
Blue Earth762443
Crow Wing681494
Kandiyohi667585
Chisago619652
Otter Tail585684
Benton582998
Goodhue483474
Douglas475381
Mower470733
Winona461151
Itasca459263
Isanti439964
McLeod430161
Morrison424362
Nobles407950
Beltrami407561
Steele397616
Polk389072
Becker386555
Lyon363853
Carlton352756
Freeborn346932
Pine335023
Nicollet331045
Mille Lacs311454
Brown307840
Le Sueur297225
Cass286032
Todd285632
Meeker263142
Waseca238023
Martin235032
Roseau211021
Wabasha20783
Hubbard196241
Dodge18773
Renville182446
Redwood176338
Houston174616
Cottonwood167124
Wadena162823
Fillmore157410
Faribault154319
Chippewa153938
Pennington153820
Kanabec146828
Sibley146810
Aitkin138737
Watonwan13579
Rock128719
Jackson122612
Pipestone116626
Yellow Medicine114920
Pope11296
Murray107010
Swift106918
Koochiching95117
Stevens92411
Clearwater89116
Marshall88817
Lake83120
Wilkin83112
Lac qui Parle75622
Big Stone6044
Grant5938
Lincoln5843
Mahnomen5669
Norman5479
Kittson49022
Unassigned48093
Red Lake4017
Traverse3765
Lake of the Woods3453
Cook1720

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 370840

Reported Deaths: 6048
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk58221639
Linn21202339
Scott20303247
Black Hawk16106312
Woodbury15237230
Johnson1461485
Dubuque13505211
Dallas1128899
Pottawattamie11219174
Story1071148
Warren583791
Clinton561493
Cerro Gordo553693
Sioux516974
Webster515194
Muscatine4878106
Marshall486576
Des Moines467271
Wapello4337122
Buena Vista426940
Jasper420972
Plymouth402881
Lee382356
Marion366076
Jones300857
Henry294237
Bremer288161
Carroll286752
Boone268434
Crawford268240
Benton259655
Washington256951
Dickinson249444
Mahaska232352
Jackson225242
Clay216627
Kossuth216166
Tama211871
Delaware210943
Winneshiek198135
Page194522
Buchanan193433
Cedar192223
Hardin187544
Fayette186543
Wright185840
Hamilton181851
Harrison180073
Clayton171057
Butler166135
Madison164619
Mills163724
Floyd163242
Cherokee159438
Lyon158841
Poweshiek157036
Allamakee152752
Hancock150234
Iowa149824
Winnebago144431
Cass139155
Calhoun138913
Grundy137133
Emmet135841
Jefferson133535
Shelby131537
Sac130920
Union129935
Louisa129649
Appanoose129049
Mitchell126643
Chickasaw124717
Franklin123323
Guthrie123132
Humboldt119526
Palo Alto113523
Howard104922
Montgomery103638
Clarke100924
Keokuk96432
Monroe96230
Unassigned9540
Ida91535
Adair87332
Pocahontas85822
Davis85225
Monona82931
Osceola78916
Greene78011
Lucas77923
Worth7598
Taylor66812
Fremont6269
Decatur6169
Ringgold56324
Van Buren56318
Wayne54423
Audubon53511
Adams3444
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