I-Team: Special meeting held over 911 problems

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CLEVELAND - Stories of problems with Cleveland's 911 lines are piling up, leading the FOX 8 I TEAM to ask city leaders how can they can say that safety forces are ready for anything during the Republican National Convention?

The phone lines have gone down repeatedly, and they went down again Monday evening.

The I TEAM even spoke to a woman who said she and others recently had trouble getting through to dispatchers at Cleveland's 911 center to get help for a man having great trouble breathing. Then finally, the woman says a relative of the man drove to a fire station to tell rescue crews of the emergency.

That happened earlier this month on Cleveland's east side.

The latest 911 problems led to an emergency meeting Tuesday afternoon.

Safety Director Michael McGrath admitted no one could tell him why the system went down Monday evening. The city confirmed the 9-1-1 lines went down nearly thirty minutes.

McGrath told the I TEAM, “We can't work under these particular circumstances. It could go down at any time. That's unacceptable."

The city and Cuyahoga County 9-1-1 systems are tied together. And they should back up each other. But we’ve found that hasn’t always happened.

In March, the I TEAM found at least a dozen callers to Cleveland 9-1-1 never got through. Earlier this month, the city’s lines went down before a high-rise apartment fire broke out.

And last year, the I TEAM was first to reveal problems in the dispatch center. Those problems included short-staffing. And even delays in getting help after a baby had been shot.

We’ve even found confusion over when the system would go down for maintenance.

Tuesday afternoon, McGrath met with Cuyahoga County leaders and the company behind the 9-1-1 software, Emergency Callworks.

The county says technicians will do some reprogramming to lessen the chances of the system crashing again. And the county will try to speed up plans to add another back-up circuit. However, that could take months.

The I TEAM called Emergency Callworks, but a spokesperson didn’t return the message we left.

**More on the RNC here**