The Houston Emergency Center is investigating an incident when an emergency operator from Houston heard snoring while answering a call for help.

HOUSTON, TX (CTRC) — When we call 911, we rely on them to quickly connect us with the help we need. During a 911 call last week, the caller says he was put on hold for about three minutes, and then when his call was answered, he appeared to fall asleep after about 30 seconds.

On the recording, you can hear the operator snoring, and the caller says: “Hello?” and then the operator asks again, “Yes, Houston, 911. Do you need medical attention, police or firefighters?”

After the caller was transferred and reported an emergency, the caller asked to speak to a supervisor about the operator on the call appearing to have fallen asleep.

The Houston Emergency Center said they are investigating the call and when their investigation is complete, appropriate staff action will be taken.

The person who called said he was concerned that this could happen to someone else, perhaps someone in an even more critical situation.

During the interviewJoe Loud, administrative manager for the Houston Emergency Center, told ABC13 that employees have to work overtime to make sure calls are answered due to staffing shortages. The person we spoke to last week said he has been working 12-hour days, five days a week for the past six months.

“Now we have about 140 people taking calls. But at the same time, we lost about 35-40%,” Laud explained on July 21.

Judging by these figures, they lack more than 70 people taking calls. ABC13 sends requests to find out exactly how many open positions there are.

Ever since our story aired the week of July 21st, we’ve heard people in the know say they’re out of business, even more so than those who take the calls.

The Houston Emergency Center sent the following statement to ABC13:

HEC is investigating the allegation of a dormant carrier during an 911 call and is working to complete the investigation, after which appropriate staff action will be taken as outlined in the investigation.

As for carrier shortages in HEC as a whole, this is a nationwide industry issue and HEC is not immune. HEC is working hard to expedite the recruitment and selection process to attract and train additional staff.

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