Abandoned Calls, Not Ghost Calls, Responsible for 911 Call Issues: City of Dallas

The FCC confirms it is investigating the 911 service in Dallas

The city of Dallas says abandoned calls – not "ghost" calls, as previously reported – are responsible for the long wait times for 911 callers.

This comes after two days of investigation by tech crews for T-Mobile, which has been at the center of the issue for the past several days.

Abandoned calls happen when a caller hangs up before reaching a 911 dispatcher. The dispatcher then must call back in an attempt to clarify whether the caller has an actual emergency. This takes time and resources away from assisting other callers who are trying to reach the 911 call center.

Until Thursday, Dallas city leaders and T-Mobile had suspected that ghost calls were responsible for the backlog. Ghost calls happen when a person's phone makes repeated calls to 911, unbeknownst to the person, the city said in a press release.

"I don't care what they call it," said Bridget Alex, whose six-month-old boy, Brandon, died after calls to 911 went unanswered. "Had they did something, my son would probably be still here in my arms, and I wouldn't be on TV pleading with them. So explain to me how did I lose my son that day?"

The city says extra staffers will work in the 911 call center to alleviate the wait times. Also, T-Mobile has committed to having a team present in the 911 call center to address any technology issues.

"So, it's a good temporary fix they should have done two weeks ago," said David Taffet, whose husband died March 6 of an apparent stroke.

Taffet said he called 911 and the call dropped. When he called back, he was put on hold for 20 minutes while he tried to do CPR.

"We all just need to keep the pressure on and make sure this is corrected," Taffet said.

"We want our citizens to know that their safety is our number one priority and they can count on us when they call 911," Dallas City Manager T.C. Broadnax said in a statement Thursday.

The Federal Communications Commission confirmed to NBC 5 that it is investigating the issue in Dallas.

"All Americans must have reliable 911 service for emergencies. At the request of local law enforcement, the FCC is looking into 911 performance issues in Dallas. Our review is ongoing," said Lisa Fowlkes, acting chief of the FCC's Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, in a statement.

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