911 response time

I meant to post this the other night but seem to have forgotten – I’m seriously impressed with the response time to a 911 call here in SF. The other night around 10PM Violet and I were walking towards the corner of 17th and Castro when a car hit a guy on a motorcycle who was stopped waiting for the light to change. We, and several other witnesses rushed into the street to help the guy up and get his bike out of the road. One of the those people called 911 as she was walking into the road. No sooner had we gotten the guy back on his feet did the car that hit him take off from the scene (we got the plates of course). However, there was an ambulance there in under 5 minutes and several SFPD units there moments later. I don’t know if they caught the driver or not, but they certainly showed some effort.

This is entirely different that the situation in LA. This is something we talk about a lot in Los Angeles where response time is almost a joke at this point. There was a car accident in front of my house where a drunk woman hit a parked car and then tried to drive off and I actually had to argue with the dispatch folks about it they were going to send someone out or not – it took several calls and several hours before anyone showed up. I don’t really have some big point to this post, just saying that calling the authorities and having them actually come was a pretty crazy new experience for me.

3 Comments so far

  1. anna (unregistered) on April 13th, 2007 @ 11:59 am

    I’ve been meaning to write about this but waiting until I’ve gone through the experience myself… you can pay for an insured 5 minute response time. Yep- a relic of when it was the Wild West, you can pay for protection from an on-duty cop!

    I think in your case, the fact that the fire station is at Sanchez & Market is why the response was so good.

  2. kyle (unregistered) on April 13th, 2007 @ 12:32 pm

    How is the guy that got hit? I really hope they get the person behind the hit and run.

  3. Bill Logan (unregistered) on April 13th, 2007 @ 12:40 pm

    FYI, cell phone users in San Francisco will probably want to program their phones with San Francisco’s direct 911 phone number: (415) 553-8090. It used to be that all cellular 911 calls in San Francisco were directed to the CHP, now only about 30% of them are, but why take chances. If you’re in San Francisco, use the direct 911 number for San Francisco when calling on a cell phone.

    The San Francisco Division of Emergency Communications’ website is:

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