Oct 25, 2013 12:49 AM by Kirsten Boyd

Emergency response jeopardized with 911 misuse

911 is the universal emergency number available 24 hours a day for Police, Fire or Emergency Medical Service, but Colorado Springs police say is being overloaded by non-emergency calls, hang ups and pocket dials.

Among the examples police shared with News 5, a person who called 911 to ask for the time. Another caller asked for the phone number to a local pizza business.

In the first 20 days of October, the Communications Center received 3,818 phone hang ups. This means, a person hung up before the call even rang into our center or before someone answered it. A call-taker is required to locate the number of that missed call and call the person back to see if there was an emergency. Police say it is a time consuming effort.

During this same time period, 1,786 unintended "pocket" calls or open-line calls were received.

For this 20 day period, 5,604 911 calls had to be researched and called back to verity if there was an actual emergency, taking valuable time away from answering incoming calls.

Police urge you that if you accidentally call 911, do not hang up. Stay on the line and let the operator know it was an accident.

For non-emergencies, you can reach Colorado Springs police at 444-7000.



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