911 dispatchers warn accidental hang-ups could be a public safety issue

When you're in an emergency, 911 is the first number you dial and in moments... they're there. However, sometimes we dial it by accident and dispatchers say it could do more harm than good.

Posted: Sep 4, 2020 8:33 AM

VIGO COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI)- When you're in an emergency, 911 is the first number you dial and in moments... they're there.

However, sometimes we dial it by accident and dispatchers say it could do more harm than good.

911 dispatcher, Kirsten Chovanov-Redman tells us, that right now they're operating with three main dispatchers. So accidental calls could become a public safety issue.

"If you take one of those dispatchers off the floor, that's putting you down to two dispatchers to handle all of the emergencies in the county, of 170 thousand plus it turns into a public safety issue if you've got one person tied up for chasing someone down for hanging up on 911."

When a call goes out to 911, operators track your location in various ways. 

With help from Rapid SOS, they can ping a cell phone tower placing your exact location.

Operators tell us they're required by law to send out a first responder if they don't hear back from you disregarding the call.

Again, this situation takes away man-power from both law enforcement and dispatch.

They also send out text messages in case it's an emergency situation where you can't talk on the phone.

However, with an increase in spam text messages circulating, they're having issues with people responding to the texts.

Chovanov-Redman tells us, messages from dispatch will never be spam.

"We aren't ever going to ask for your social security number, we're not going to ask random questions to kind of be fishy. I don't think you're going to get a lot of prank texts saying they're 911, that's just something that doesn't happen and if it does I'll be shocked."

Just remember, if you dial 911 by accident, let the operator know before hanging up.

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