As the winter season, fast approaches roads become slick causing crashes, and more people turn up their heat causing appliances and homes to catch fire. This causes more people to call 911 for help, and dispatchers can become inundated as the weather changes.
This is a trend seen nationwide as inclement weather strikes. According to a recent report, nearly 20% of 911 calls are considered non-emergencies. This is enough to clog up the call centers.
Emergency officials are urging everyone to call 911 when they feel their life is in immediate danger.
“We don’t want you not to call 911 or be scared to call 911 because we are here to help you,” says Paul Nave, the Owensboro-Daviess County 911 director.
Dispatchers have to answer every call as they come through, even if the calls aren’t pertaining to dire emergencies.
“If you’ve been out of power for several hours and you’re on an oxygen tank and you fear your oxygen is going to run out, absolutely give us a call and we’ll send the fire department to call you without any questions,” says Nave. “But to call 911 because you don’t have minutes and you want to report your electrical power out, or you want to know what the road conditions are, those calls are just non-emergencies.”
Calls like these tie-up dispatchers, ultimately delaying the response to people reporting life-threatening emergencies where every minute counts.
If you have questions regarding health, shelter, or utilities this winter, United Way has a 211 line you can call to get that information.