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Make sure 911 system functioning

An Ohio man is dead and his family is rightly confused and frustrated after their calls to 911 in Cuyahoga County last week went unanswered. By the time they resorted to calling the local hospital, which alerted police and paramedics, it was too late.

A recording of one hospital worker’s call to first responders is frightening: “She can’t get through to 911.”

Cuyahoga County says the problem was a failed power distribution unit, according to another media outlet. The county told that newspaper a 911 dispatcher did quickly notice there was a problem and alerted a technician from the company that operates the equipment. But records show it took nearly an hour and a half for 911 calls to be routed to working phone lines.

It seems unbelievable that such a workaround was not the FIRST step taken.

This is a system that has had problems before. One would think officials would have a greater sense of urgency, not just in making sure their equipment works the way it should, but in making sure employees are well trained to deal with such a glitch to make sure the system still serves people who are counting on it.

Even if Cuyahoga County still has a lot of work to do, the tragedy must serve as a reminder to Mid-Ohio Valley counties to make sure our equipment is working and well-maintained, the system does what it is supposed to do, and dispatchers have all the training they need to handle a similar situation, if it does not.

For one Buckeye State family, it is too late. Local officials must make sure they have done all they can to prevent a similar tragedy here.

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