The cell phone service company T-Mobile has faced hot water recently after a glitch in the company’s software prevented callers from reaching 911 on a number of occasions during emergency situations.
The situation has mostly affected countless emergency phone calls made from the Dallas area, but could also affect many other areas in the near future. Recently, a six- month-old boy perished after his babysitter was unable to connect with 911 when the boy had fallen unconscious.
However, this was not the first time glitches had affected emergency calls. Just days before the boy’s death, a man died after it took 20 minutes for his partner to get through to 911 after being placed on hold and ultimately disconnected during multiple call attempts. Although this situation only appears to be happening to T-Mobile customers, officials suggest it is not a glitch in the company’s software after all.
“The root issue [of the emergency call dilemma] stemmed from a variety of factors, including Dallas’ aging 911 service technology,” said Dallas public-information director Sana Syed. “(It) could not differentiate between calls on hold and hang-ups and the way T-Mobile’s technology interacted with the system and identified callers.”
Still, a situation like this should be alarming for citizens nationwide. Even though it has mostly been reported as occurring solely in Dallas, it could happen anywhere.
“When people call 911, sometimes the situation can be between life and death,” said David Halprin, sophomore. “When you cannot get through to talk to someone in one of those situations, it would probably be incredibly alarming. Something about the system needs to be fixed as soon as possible to prevent this from ever happening again.”
Fittingly, T-Mobile and the city of Dallas are combining their efforts to put a stop to the emergency madness. City officials are reportedly, “pursuing technology upgrades,” along with adding a dozen extra call takers per day, until the issue is resolved.
“To further assist the call takers, T-Mobile has made adjustments in its network to smooth the delivery of calls to 911,” the city said.
Without a doubt, the uncertainty surrounding emergency calls in Dallas leaves room for concern nationwide. With American citizens reaching out to 911 every minute, the country is on high alert until this potentially dangerous dilemma is resolved.