Emergency – Who do you call?

Always call Hoboken Police before 911!

Our annual friendly Hoboken PSA here, since I keep hearing every single day that emergencies are being called to 911 – instead of the Hoboken Police directly.

The reader that witnessed the car fire on 3rd Street earlier this week did the same thing and regretted it:

“We called 911, which was a mistake, as they take forever to communicate with the local police/fire dept. therefore, it took longer then it needed to for fire trucks to arrive on scene. Please inform readers to call DIRECT to the Hoboken Police or Fire Dept. if possible in an emergency, it saves response time and ultimately lives. They can save the number under Police or Emergency in their cell phone.”

If you haven’t done so already – memorize and program their number into your phone! (201)420-2100.

Who do you call? Hoboken Police or 911?

1/12/2012 Update:

Last weekend, an unfortunate fella who was jogging along Maxwell Place collapsed from a sudden heart attack, and eventually died. In situations like this – it’s imperative to call the local emergency number direct – because just a few seconds can be the difference between life & death.

Hoboken411 reader Fred witnessed the incident – and besides the possible delay by calling 911 as the “middle man,” he wondered about the effectiveness of our local EMS corps;

“I am writing you because of an incident that occurred at Maxwell Park that is very troubling. I think a person may have passed away from a heart attack while jogging. The park was very crowded given the warm weather and a couple of people went over to help the victim. One women made an emergency call and it seemed to take a very long time (maybe 15 minutes, not sure) before the first police car showed up. What is so troubling is that with a fire station so close on Washington and 14th, that help didn’t arrive sooner. The police women who showed up first also didn’t have a defibrillator.”

411 Note: I know for a fact that 99% of the time – the Hoboken EMS crew is top-notch, and arrive at the intended scene within minutes. I overheard this incident happen live – and the “ALS” (Advanced Life Support) unit in Hoboken was actually out of town at Jersey City Medical Center after dropping another patient off. Hoboken then relies on in-house “basic” ambulatory services – or has to reach out to other commercial services for assistance.

Hoboken Police number should be memorized and programmed

10/11/2011 Update:

911-hoboken.jpgHave heard a few people (including the “aggressive driver” previously) who have had issues with the “911” system we have in place here.

I personally feel that 911 should only be used when you don’t know the local police number(s), such as if you’re on the highway or in a town you’re not familiar with. Another person said “only call 911 in case of a murder”. But it’s always prudent to teach children how to use this service, as many kids have saved their parents when some mishap has occurred.

Also note that having a (non-GPS enabled) cell phone makes it harder for any emergency service to locate you.

Here’s what some Hoboken411 readers had to say about 911 recently:

I recently needed to call 9-1-1- in Hoboken. I learned a valuable lesson, 9-1-1 isn’t the most efficient or effective way to get help in an emergency situation in Hoboken.

They didn’t answer until at least 6 or more rings. They could not locate me or my emergency as they thought I was in Jersey City. They had to call me back 4 or 5 times to locate me. They gave a poor description of the situation to the wrong police department. I think that about sums it up. Guy got away as a result.

Please inform and advise your readers that the fastest, most effective way to get help is to call the Hoboken Police Department directly at 201-420-2100. This is now #1 on my speed dial in case of another emergency situation.

While 9-1-1 should still be used, it is not the best way to get help fast in town.”

In another 911-related incident, here’s what a reader went through as their apartment was overcome with water during last weeks flash flooding rain storm:

hoboken-flooding-august-8-2007-9-rd.jpgI had an emergency the other morning at 6:30 am. I promptly called 911 and waited. I waited a little longer. Finally after three minutes, an operator answered the phone. He said he would connect me to the Hoboken 911 switchboard. I waited again, a total of 6 minutes and 16 seconds. I finally hung up never talking with anyone. Someone else had called and they showed up. But, it’s a bit concerning to know I waited so long. Luckily I wasn’t being burglarized or being held at gun point.”

Are our emergency services equipped enough to handle a real emergency, if they can barely handle a 3 hour rain storm?
So unless it’s a dire emergency, it may be best to dial 411 and request to be connected to the local police instead.

20 Responses

  1. FMTVENG says:

    one of the problems is that most, if not all, of the hoboken phone exchanges are actually served out of teh Jersey City central office and serve parts of both cities (201-222, 201-420, etc) hence the confusion in routing of 911 calls.

    Just keep the Hoboken number handy (witch the exception of the “aggressive driving nutjob” who should promptly forget it), and you’ll be all set for when doomsday comes.

    • joey maxim says:

      hense —- if one calls 911 the call goes through three cycles,and into jersey city If one
      calls 420 2100 2130 its direct,according to what a good sourse said..some dolts call 911 for a blocked driveway and double parkers,etc..this ties up emergency calls that can mean life and death..Just a suggestion folks.[quote comment=”39110″]one of the problems is that most, if not all, of the hoboken phone exchanges are actually served out of teh Jersey City central office and serve parts of both cities (201-222, 201-420, etc) hence the confusion in routing of 911 calls.Just keep the Hoboken number handy (witch the exception of the “aggressive driving nutjob” who should promptly forget it), and you’ll be all set for when doomsday comes.[/quote]

  2. rag246 says:

    Public Enemy unavailable for comment.

  3. strand says:

    And if you have a medical emergency our dispatch is also sub par. So if you dial 911, you then get routed to Jersey City who dispatches Jersey City paramedics when appropriate, who then calls the Hoboken police department who then calls the hoboken ambulance. Got to love it. So yeah calling hoboken police directly definetly closes the loop faster.

  4. leigh859 says:

    I’ve called the cops a few times from the non-emergency number. I’ve always gotten the right dispatcher and the response time was in minutes . . . so I guess that’s the key.

    Hate to hear that about 911.

    Keep it in your cell: 201-420-2100

  5. kooky kat says:

    I called the local number one morning around 3-4AM. There was a bum fight outside, and it looked as if one of them had knife in their hand, otherwise I wouldn’t have bothered. I think was 4 cars that arrived within minutes. Must have been a slow night!

  6. MidnightRacer says:

    In case of an emergency, you need only call “The Trunk Monkey”:

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=8avOiTUcD4Y

  7. Easy-E says:

    Soothsayer, philosopher, sage and banger of nasty ghetto biatches, Flavor-Flav said it best:

    Get up, ah git git down, 9 1 1 is joke in yo’ town…

  8. Cat says:

    I’ve had great response times from the non emergency number. I’ve called 911 twice. The first time for an ambulance, and they were VERY slow. The second time the police arrived within perhaps two minutes of my call.

  9. beerzgood says:

    I called 201-420-2100 six years ago and am still waiting for a response.

  10. MidnightRacer says:

    (knocking on mic)
    “Anyone out there?”

    (knocking on mic some more)
    “I said,”

    [quote comment=”39164″]In case of an emergency, you need only call “The Trunk Monkey”:

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=8avOiTUcD4Y/quote

    Maybe if Rodney Dangerfield had posted instead of me 😥

  11. escaped68 says:

    who do you call—‘ghost busters” couldn’t resist

  12. homeworld says:

    I called 911 once to report someone smashing car windshields and mirrors with a baseball bat. I gave them a description of the suspect and the licence plate number of their pickup truck and the direction they were traveling. After about 2 minutes explaining all of this to this, the 911 operator told me that wasn’t a 911 emergency and I should hang up and call the Hoboken police instead. By that time I no longer knew their licence plate number and they had driven away. Good job 911.

    • wiskeytango1 says:

      fm when one calls 911 it goes through there lines before it gets to hpd..easy to call the local 420 2100 2102 or 2130 ..911 iis not great..now home world you call local pd
      many call 911 for blocked drive way..its county hires..lmao…If you saw this jerk breaking windows you should have shot his arse with rock salt..You leader soon will be programing minute men as during the revolution…sign of the times.. :( [quote comment=”211416″]I called 911 once to report someone smashing car windshields and mirrors with a baseball bat. I gave them a description of the suspect and the licence plate number of their pickup truck and the direction they were traveling. After about 2 minutes explaining all of this to this, the 911 operator told me that wasn’t a 911 emergency and I should hang up and call the Hoboken police instead. By that time I no longer knew their licence plate number and they had driven away. Good job 911.[/quote]

  13. Mavrande says:

    The number for the Hoboken Fire Department is 201-420-2005. It can be used to report any fire, smoke condition, odor of gas, open hydrant, downed electrical wires, and so on. The ambulance corps has a direct line at 201-420-2135. It should not be used for any emergencies, as there is often not someone available to answer that phone.

    In a cardiac arrest, the most important things are rapid reporting to 911 or Hoboken Police, prompt CPR (even “hands-only” CPR, chest compressions two inches deep 100 per minute – that’s twice per second. You can do this if a patient is unresponsive, not breathing, and you can not locate a carotid (neck) pulse after trying for 10 seconds. Try it on yourself now to get a feel for where it should be), and prompt defibrillation (AEDs are carried on all Hoboken ambulances, as well as some of the fire trucks, and many stevens PD units).

    Another tip. Any time you’re calling in anything, give a description of the location. Give an address, specify inside or outside, and a landmark (in front of the bank, for example, or the southeast corner of the intersection). The number one avoidable reason that emergency services are delayed is because they can not find you.

  14. rich k says:

    Pardon my bafflement, but why hasn’t anyone suggested the obvious? Fix the 911 system! NYC’s 911 can figure out if the problem is in Riverdale or Canarsie and route help in seconds, why are we accepting anything less?

    • BklynHobo says:

      I grew up in Canarsie![quote comment=”219055″]Pardon my bafflement, but why hasn’t anyone suggested the obvious? Fix the 911 system! NYC’s 911 can figure out if the problem is in Riverdale or Canarsie and route help in seconds, why are we accepting anything less?[/quote]

  15. Civic66 says:

    I’m reading some of these previous comments that question how good the Hoboken dispatcher is and I have to agree. A few years ago I called the Hoboken police (not 911, called Hoboken police directly) and told them about a vandalism in progress behind the Monroe Center (near the 9th Street light rail station). The Hoboken dispatcher had no idea where the Monroe Center was when I used it as a frame of reference. I can understand that some residents may not be familiar with where it is, but I would hope that Hoboken police, fire, medical and all other city employees know a lot of the buildings my name. The city is only a square mile, there’s not too much to memorize.

    • homeworld says:

      I once called about something on Maxwell Lane and they didn’t know where I was talking about either. Then I explained it intersected 11th Street near Maxwell Place and they still didn’t know what Maxwell Place was. He ended the call bragging that he’s lived in Hoboken for 36 years and I didn’t know what I was talking about because I’ve only lived here for 11. [quote comment=”219056″]I’m reading some of these previous comments that question how good the Hoboken dispatcher is and I have to agree. A few years ago I called the Hoboken police (not 911, called Hoboken police directly) and told them about a vandalism in progress behind the Monroe Center (near the 9th Street light rail station). The Hoboken dispatcher had no idea where the Monroe Center was when I used it as a frame of reference. I can understand that some residents may not be familiar with where it is, but I would hope that Hoboken police, fire, medical and all other city employees know a lot of the buildings my name. The city is only a square mile, there’s not too much to memorize.[/quote]

  16. inquisitivemind says:

    As a frequent caller of the HPD non-Emercency # (420 2100), I agree 95% of the time the phone is answered in less than 6 rings by a polite, patient, and helpful officer. That being said, in the case of an EMERGENCY, people should keep in mind its a non-Emergency way to contact HPD. Is the 911 system better? I D K, as I have not called 911 in years and even that last situation took 10 minutes and several unanswered calls to get someone on the line. On parade day, for example, the HPD non-emergency # is not answered routinely as it is on most normal days, and when it is answered, the police do not always respond to the issue you called about as they said they would. But yes, 420 2100 is an excellent resource for city residents to contact the police in an expeditious manner most of the time. I suggest for life and death situations to call 420 2100 then 911 so the police non emergency # does not become the only way the HPD finds out about true emergencies. That changes the job of the officer answering 420 2100.

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