Tulsa's 211 Service Sees Spike In Calls

Monday, February 7th 2011, 5:46 pm
By: News On 6

Laura Moss, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- As we've seen in the last week, when bad weather hits, more people need help.

The City's 211 help line said their calls are up 60 percent, and callers are upset.

"More frustrated than angry, very frustrated that they can't get out of their drive way, they can't get out of their street," said 211 Director Jim Lyall. "[Callers] have a high expectation that something can immediately be done about their problem."

One viewer called News On 6 saying the service wouldn't help him get his prescription delivered to his home.

The service can't deliver assistance, but will point you in the right direction.

When we called asking for life threatening medication delivery options, the 211 employee was very helpful

The operator gave us several options.

"You could take a taxi cab to your pharmacy, I can give you numbers to two taxi companies," the operator said.

After calling multiple times with multiple issues, the call service was consistently informative.

But Lyall said it's natural for patience to run thin.

"There is such a thing in our world as compassion fatigue, and we really do need to spread the work among as many staff as possible for that reason," he said.

Lyall said their mission is to help you find help. Not deliver it.

"We do not have any resources for actually directly assisting. Our job is to help them find those resources and report what kind of needs are being raised," Lyall said.

And they are working to make sure the information they do give is fresh and accurate.

"We contact agencies to see if we have information that is correct, up to date. Right now we are in the mode where we are calling them to see if they are operational and if they are offering any different types of services that are available as a result of the storm," said 211 Resource Specialist Michael coonfield.

The help line is not for profit and does rely partially on personal donations.