Despite city government efforts yesterday to restore service to a series of defunct telephone numbers for emergency assistance to city residents, two of the numbers were still going unanswered periodically late yesterday and another was not connected.
C&P Telphone Co. information operators and interceptors also were still giving incorrect "new" numbers in some instances. D.C. government operators, who rarely intercepted the incorrect numbers in past weeks, began doing so last night.
"Absolutely indefensible," said Albert P. Russo, director of the D.C. Department of Human Resources, which is responsible for the 24-hour emergency telephone service for drug addicts, rape victims, battered children and potential suicides.
"It is indefensible for a client not have the correct number or, if he or she does, not to have a human voice to speak to," Russo said.
Russo said he has scheduled a meeting today with several DHR administrators to remedy the deficiencies immediately.
The Washington Post published a story Tuesday about the four incorrect or nonworking emergency numbers, noting that some of the confusion was caused by the fact that portions of DHR are converting to a Centrex telephone system from the old electro-mechanical system.
"But that's only part of the problem," Russo said yesterday. "I gave instruction three months ago that for whatever reason the (emergency telephone service) worker has to leave the phone, a recorded voice interceptor must be placed on the phone explaining the situation and telling the client to leave a name and phone number." That instruction, he said, apparently has not been followed.
As of last night, C & P information operators were giving only one correct functioning number - 727-0995 for protective services (child abuse).
They gave an incorrect number for suicide prevention and a correct but unconnected number for drug treatment.) For sexual assualt, operators gave the main number of D.C. General Hospital, where the switchboard provided the correct number.
In Tuesday's story, The Post inadvertently published a wrong number for drug treatment. The correct numbers for the four emergency services are:
Protective Services: 727-0995.
Sexual Assualts: 626-7273.
Suicide Prevention: 727-3622.
Drug Treatment: 727-0474. This number has not been connected, city officials said, but is scheduled to be operational soon. In the meantime two backup numbers are available: 626-7261 and 626-7274.