KANSAS CITY, Mo. — You call 911 and you expect someone to answer the call on the other end.
But increasingly 911 callers are finding themselves on hold waiting for anyone to answer the call. Mayor Quinton Lucas says his sister waited five minutes with his mother incapacitated.

The owner of Draque’s Barbershop in Kansas City knows customer’s time is valuable. That’s why a neon sign outside the store lets people know if there’s no wait.

“I pride myself on getting them in and out servicing the customers, quickly and efficiently as possible,” Draque Murff said.

But his time was never so critical as when a customer shot him in the parking lot last summer.

“I called waited for 3-4 minutes, called back on hold again and that’s when I started panicking. Fortunately the Z trip driver came and took me to the hospital. If it wasn’t for them and I was just waiting on the ambulance to come I probably would’ve died,” Murff said.

Just around the corner back in 2017 a comic book store owner who was robbed did die. 911 callers told FOX4 they waited that same 5 or 6 minutes for someone to answer before taking matters into their own hands to seek help from the nearest fire station.

“We judge police fire departments on response time after a call is dispatched, but we are missing the minutes in advance,” Lucas said about his family’s situation.

KCFD says its average fire/EMS response time is 8 minutes. But that clock only starts ticking once the call is routed to them.

FOX4 asked how long on average 911 callers are waiting on hold in Kansas City. That number has jumped from 27 seconds in January to 46 seconds in April.

Lucas says the city should look at pay increases beyond $20.50 an hour or more ways to increase job satisfaction, as the city tries to fill 26 still open 911 operator positions.

“I think they definitely need to hire more people and get the whole situation under control. 911 is something that the citizens should be able to rely on and depend on and unfortunately it’s not something that’s not living up to the citizen’s expectations,” Murff said.