EAST GREENWICH, R.I. (WPRI) — What do you do in an emergency when every second counts?
For most, the answer is call 911.
That’s exactly what Wildwood Nursery and Garden Center owner David Bosco did Sunday when a car careened through his front fence, narrowly missing a customer and one of his employees.
“My immediate response was to call 911,” he said.
Bosco didn’t expect to be greeted by an automated message stating he was being placed on hold.
“To be honest with you, I never knew 911 could put you on hold,” he said. “That was very disturbing.”
Shortly after being placed on hold, Bosco became worried that he had poor cell phone service and decided to call from the nursery’s landline.
“I was very concerned,” he said, adding that he didn’t know at the time whether the driver had been injured. “Those minutes can mean everything.”
Rhode Island E-911 Director Arthur Martins tells 12 News that, while it’s rare to be put on hold, it can happen when the dispatch center is “inundated with calls.”
“They go into a holding pattern, then the [calls] will be answered in the order they were received,” Martins said.
Rhode Island E-911 Projects Manager Jim Chellel their dispatchers receive calls from across the state, and those calls can add up.
“From 3:04 p.m. to 3:06 p.m., we took nine calls on the East Greenwich [crash] alone,” he explained. “On the occasion that a call does go into that holding pattern, please stay on the line. It will be answered as quickly as possible.”
Martins said Rhode Island E-911 is not fully staffed at this time, though that likely wasn’t a factor in Sunday’s response.
Bosco said the crash ended up not being too serious, adding that he was primarily concerned with not being able to get ahold of a dispatcher right away.