Answer 95% of 911 calls within 20 seconds
Answering 911 calls quickly is essential for effective emergency response. The National Emergency Number Association has established the national standard that 95% of 911 calls should be answered within 20 seconds. We have dramatically improved our 911 operations, from a low of answering just 33.5% of calls within 20 seconds to achieving our 95% goal for the first time in November 2017. Since then, we have worked to sustain this standard and have continued to answer 95% of calls within 20 seconds. Read more about the steps we took to improve in our 911 data story here.
911 Call Success vs. Abandonment Rate
Abandoned calls are those where a caller hangs up or gets disconnected before a dispatcher is able to answer. As we have decreased call answer time, the percent of abandoned calls has also decreased, from 45% in 2015 to consistently near 10% since 2019. We track this as an indicator of increased call answer time because people are less likely to hang up and redial if their call is answer quickly.
911 Call Volume
We want people to utilize 911 for true emergencies and have increased programs to raise awareness of other medical services available for non-emergencies. By decreasing call volume, operators are better able to keep up, decreasing the likelihood that calls will wait in the queue, and reducing answer times.
This creates a positive cycle, since often when wait times are long callers may hang up and redial. Reduced answer times lower the likelihood that callers will abandon their call and re-dial, which in turn reduces call volume, which reduces call answer time, and so forth.