Will your 911 cell phone call save you in an emergency?
Maybe not if you’re calling from within our region.
I have a friend who witnessed a wreck near Blue Lake Road off of Hwy 280. He immediately dialed 911 but ran into a geographic overlap.
There are seventeen separate E911 call centers in Jefferson County.
There were three possible dispatchers in the neighborhood of the witnessed wreck—Birmingham, Vestavia Hills, and Jefferson County.
The cars hit each other and ended up 50 to 100 yards apart. When the dispatcher questioned where the wreck occurred, the cars were in two different 911 districts neither of which were closest to the wreck. One car was in the Birmingham district, the other in the Jefferson County district, and the closest district to the wreck was Vestavia.
We have no idea who finally responded.
I understand it’s not uncommon for 911 calls to be forwarded two or three times.
Think about it.
Seventeen different call center dispatchers working 24 hours a day—7 days a week with no clear cut geographical authority.
The result is dangerous and expensive.
Too many government entities.
Welcome to another example of our segmented dysfunctional government.
Each of these cities and Jefferson County have separate E911 service call centers.
• Jefferson County
• Mt. Brook
• Pleasant Grove
• Shelby County
• Tarrant City
• Vestavia Hills
David Sher’s goal is to create a conversation on how to fix our fragmented and dysfunctional local government.
David Sher is a partner in Buzz12 Content Marketing and co-CEO of AmSher Receivables Management. He’s past Chairman of the Birmingham Regional Chamber of Commerce (BBA), Operation New Birmingham (ONB), and the City Action Partnership (CAP).