Chesterfield woman calls 911 twice, 'no one answered' - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Chesterfield woman calls 911 twice, 'no one answered'

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When you call 911, you expect someone to pick up right away. One Chesterfield woman says she had a different experience.

An onslaught of severe back pain left Crystal Flynn on the ground calling for help on Monday. She was unable to move and barely able to breathe.

"It takes a lot to get me to go to the doctors, so for me to tell my neighbors to get me an ambulance, you know it was bad," said Flynn from her Chesterfield home.

Her neighbor came over to help her and called 911 from Flynn’s kitchen.

"She called 911 and it was ringing and ringing and ringing," recalled Flynn. She said it felt like an eternity. Fire officials say it rang six times within the 911 dispatch center in Chesterfield County.

Flynn’s neighbor called again.

"Same thing, just kept ringing," she said.

As her neighbor scrambled to find a cell phone, the landline phone started ringing.

"It was a dispatcher. They said they would send an ambulance, but 17 minutes later, the ambulance still wasn’t here," said Flynn.

According to fire officials, 35 seconds passed between the neighbor’s first and second call. More than a minute passed between the second call and the dispatcher calling back.

Lt. Jason Elmore with Chesterfield Fire explained at that point, protocol was launched to send an emergency responder to Flynn’s residence. This is typically done anytime a 911 call is hung up.

He explains at the time Flynn’s neighbor called, there was a high volume of calls coming into the ECC. When a dispatcher spoke to Flynn, that dispatcher determined her injuries to be Level Three.

Lt. Elmore explained a Level One priority is for life-threatening calls. For example, someone with chest pain or a traffic accident. Level Two includes calls from doctors or medical facilities needing a patient transported immediately. Level Three are for non-life threatening emergencies, such as back pain or sprained ankles.

Due to the high number of calls coming in on Monday afternoon, the ECC had to prioritize response. The ambulance that would have gone to Flynn’s home was tied up at an accident.

According to a 2016 performance plan for Chesterfield County Emergency Communications, the report shows the division’s priority is in recruiting, developing, and retaining a high-performing workforce.

The analysis shows the ECC’s weakness is in staffing levels to include lack of staffed 911 call taker positions. It notes a threat facing the department includes an increased workload without additional staff, along with stress, fatigue and burnout.

It also pointed out the ECC strives to answer 911 calls in five second or less, at least 90 percent of the time. However, projections for the 2016 report show that number is closer to 72 percent of the time, with 91 percent of calls being answered in 20 seconds or less.

Fire officials say what happened to Crystal Flynn was an anomaly.

The performance plan projected 10,000 calls were abandoned in the fiscal year of 2016, which is 7.3 percent of the calls coming in.

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