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.