FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - A 911 call outage shut down several dispatch centers in Broward County for about an hour, and one Davie family said they were impacted by the dilemma.
County officials said there were backup systems in place during the 911 outage on Friday, but 7News spoke with the Davie family who said they were let down.
Carol Wolff said no one answered the call when she and her neighbors dialed 911 on Friday after she found her 30-year-old son, Charles Yaw, unresponsive in her home.
“Everyday, you never know,” Wolff said. “You dial 911, are they going to answer?”
Family member Katherine Tane said she also called multiple times.
“I called from two different cellphones to 911 and they kept ringing, ringing and ringing,” Tane said.
Around noon on Friday, the county’s 911 center went down, which caused calls to go through, but would then disconnect.
“When [the calls would] come in, they had the caller I.D., they’d be able to see them and then call the individual back,” said Coral Springs Police Officer Tyler Reik, “because when they picked up the phone, the call would drop.”
The Broward Sheriff’s Office also put in place a second contingency. They sent county dispatchers to Coral Springs, which operates its own independent call center and rerouted calls from there.
“They just came here as a precaution. None of the calls were forwarded to Coral Springs,” Reik said. “They were able to handle everything through their BSO facility.”
Fort Lauderdale dispatch centers also implemented a back up with an automatic message that stated, “If you have an emergency in the City of Fort Lauderdale and need immediate police or fire assistance, place call (954) 828-4200.”
“We instantly activated what you see behind me, which is a makeshift communication center,” said Fort Lauderdale Police Chief Rick Maglione.
The Wolff family, however, believes the backups failed them.
Carol’s phone showed four calls were made to 911. One lasted 39 minutes, and she said during that time, the phone just rang.
A neighbor’s phone also showed that two calls were made to 911.
Both people said no one called them back.
Officials said Yaw died on Friday at the townhouse near Southwest 41st Court and 66th Terrace.
Investigators told 7News that the pooling of blood in Yaw’s body had already set in, which indicated he may have been dead for hours.
The condition of his body also indicated that Yaw may have died before the 911 calls were made.
It is unclear if the glitches at the call center contributed to his death.
“We lost a 30-year-old son. We’re going through hell,” Tane said.
The county said they will study how the outage happened, how the backup systems worked and then will issue a report which will be available next week.
Yaw’s family has created a GoFundMe page to help cover the costs for his funeral. To donate, click here.
Copyright 2021 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.