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Woman gets put on hold after calling 911

Posted at 4:56 PM, May 07, 2013
and last updated 2013-05-07 17:07:52-04

WASHINGTON (WTVR) – When you call 911, you expect someone to answer in a hurry. But one woman in Washington, D.C. says that didn’t happen when she called for help.

WUSA reports Kathleen Burke dialed 911 after a burglar broke into her home. But instead of sending someone to her home right away, the dispatcher put Burke on hold for more than a minute.

Wanda Gattison, a spokeswoman for the District’s Emergency Communications Center, admits Burke’s call was put on hold for a minute and eight seconds because the nine call takers and dispatchers who were available were busy answering other emergency calls.

Those calls included reports of gun shots, theft, assault, a burglary alarm going off and several medical calls.

Gattison says cell phones make it harder for dispatchers. She says 70 percent of the 911 calls in the District come from cell phones, and are often multiple people calling to report the same crime, flooding their system.

However, Gattison maintains dispatchers respond to 90 percent of calls within five seconds.

Click here to read more on this story from WUSA.