From staff and press reports
The Louisville and Winston County dispatch center can receive several hundred non-emergency calls every month and sometimes-in one day.
Many of these include accidental calls from
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cellphones and alarm systems going off for the wrong reasons.
The exact financial cost associated with the false calls is unknown but the dangers to all from slowed response time on real calls are the major issue.
Last month, the dispatch center received 1034 calls, with 176 false calls, said Vera McCarty, 911 director.
Some are children on the cellphone or accidental calls from a cellphone in a pocket or purse accidentally dialing 911, said McCarty.
Alderwoman Judy McLeod brought up the discussion of the false calls to 911 after witnessing the dispatcher at 911 receiving several false calls while addressing several very important calls.
“This is interrupting very serious matters,” said McLeod.
In the meantime, McLeod wants people to be more careful and to educate themselves and their children about how to prevent false 911 calls.
The city leaders noted that parents and others should be aware that even discarded cellphone that has a charge but no live line can still dial 911.
The 911 call taker at the center cannot call these phones back to determine if it is a real emergency and it does distract from the 911 operator’s attention on real emergencies.
The city leaders also advise of misuse and abuse of 911 for non-emergency means:
City leaders ask that it be a true emergency when dialing 9-1-1.
Do not dial 9-1-1 for:
. Directory assistance
. When you are bored and just want to talk to someone
. For paying tickets
. For asking if someone has been arrested
. As a prank/hang up calls etc.
Call takers deal with these calls every day along with real emergency calls that could mean the difference in life and death. It could be anyone’s loved one in trouble when a false all interrupts an emergency call.
The city and county are also working on the call center to get the GPS coordinates of all calls. With this new ability, the 911 office will be able to track all calls and pinpoint the center direction of the calls.
“If you dial 9-11 by mistake do not hang up, tell the call taker what happened so they know there really isn’t an emergency,” stated Mayor Will Hill.