911 calls are under investigation in Delaware County.
A communications company is accused of illegally handling emergency calls.
Police said that customers of ICS Communications who have called 911 from a landline were not getting a trained dispatcher on the other line.
10TV News uncovered court records showing that those needing emergency assistance instead were getting an employee of the phone company, who would take their information and then call 911, or in some cases, not answer the phone at all.
Police said it was multiple 911 calls, including recent calls made from Wintersong Village and Delaware Court nursing homes that prompted them to investigate the companies’ phone provider.
Investigators say the businesses, both based in Delaware, use ICS Communications.
But for some reason, the calls were being routed to Dublin.
“Initially, the problem was suspected to be a technical problem,” said Delaware Police Chief Bruce Pijanowski. “On Sept. 24, test calls were made from affected phone numbers, and the calls were answered by a 911 call taker not affiliated with Delaware County emergency Communications.”
Police say they seized property from four locations affiliated with ICS Communications.
They say they believe 911 calls were being routed to an employee of the company who was taking information and then calling 911 themselves. Police said they aren’t certain why the employee was answering the calls, other than to say, ICS Communications doesn’t have the capabilities to handle the calls.
“It’s disturbing,” said Rob Quigley, an Orange Township trustee.
Orange Township is a client of ICS Communications.
Quigley listened to a 911 call allegedly made by the manager of the Orange Township pool.
“We have a 6-year-old girl, who was in the pool and swallowed a lot of water, and she is having trouble breathing and we need to have an ambulance, medical transport “said the caller, who identified himself to the dispatcher as Tom McDonald.
Police say the person who made the call wasn’t affiliated with the pool, but was an ICS employee.
“Every second counts, and you don’t know the scenario, and for you to take the risk and put someone’s life in jeopardy, it’s not acceptable,” Quigley said.
During a news conference on Friday morning, police warned that the incidents are more than a 911 service disruption – they are a direct threat to public safety.
They say hundreds of clients, across multiple central Ohio counties are being impacted.
Anyone who has had 911 problems with ICS should contact ICS911Concerns@delawareohio.net.
ICS Communications customers are asked to use a cell phone to call 911 or call the emergency service provider directly. Delaware County ICS customers can call 740-368-1911.
Police are warning customers not to test the system and call 911 unless emergency services are legitimately needed.
Watch 10TV News and refresh 10TV.com for more information.
**In the spirit of full disclosure, WBNS-10TV News contracts with ICS for bandwidth on a camera located downtown.