Hang-up 911 calls causing trouble for Warren County emergency workers

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by Ray Preston/ KMOV.com

KMOV.com

Posted on November 15, 2013 at 6:02 PM

Updated Friday, Nov 15 at 6:55 PM

(KMOV.com) -- A large amount of 911 calls in Warren County are ending as hang-up calls and it is causing a problem for emergency responders.

Warren County’s Dispatch Center handles an average of 40 911 calls every day and said about a dozen of those are hang-up calls. They said even if they are able to call the number back, an officer is still sent out.

“We still send law enforcement to check on it cause we don’t know if somebody’s in the house,” said Warren Dispatcher Amy Ellard, “It takes away time and energy from real emergencies, not that those cell phone hang-ups couldn’t be emergencies, but probably nine out of ten are just hang-ups.”

Ellard said most people don’t realize by law, phones must be able to call 911 even when there’s no service contract for the phone. She explained a parent could give an old phone to a child and let them use it as a play thing and the child could still call 911.

“You hear the kids playing and you try to ask for mom or dad,” said Ellard, “You don’t know how old they are so you don’t know if they’re understanding.”

Ellard said to take the batteries out of an old phone if it is used as a toy.

Ellard also said most people don’t realize they have accidentally dialed 911, but it still takes valuable time away from first-responders who may be needed for a real emergency. 

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