Thursday, August 4, 2011
Sedgwick County Emergency Communications report about 65 percent of the 2,000 emergency calls they answered between Wednesday 9 p.m. and Thursday 3 a.m. were for non-emergencies.
Emergency operators asked callers if they needed police, fire, or emergency medical services, but most callers answered no.
"Oh, I don't need no ambulance. I just didn't know because I have a 10-month-old and a four-year-old in the house and I didn't know if I was supposed to call you guys," said the caller, who was not sure where to call to report a power outage.
Calls like this kept emergency lines tied up Wednesday night. About 1,300 of the 2,000 phone calls came from people calling in about power outages and downed tree limbs that did not require emergency crews.
"It's difficult knowing that there's probably somebody who's on another line that's on hold right now and they're waiting to tell us about a injury car accident or a situation where somebody's having a stroke or a heart attack," said Randy Bargdill, director of Sedgwick County Emergency Communications.
Operators said they will take any emergency phone calls but they discourage calls to 911 that are not personal emergencies or public safety hazards. A majority of the calls from the storm were people requesting to be transferred to the electric company.
"No, nothing happened. I need to know who I need to call. I have a tree down in my backyard and it knocked all my power out," said another caller. The operator asked if anything was on fire and the caller responded, "I don't know, I'm not going outside."
Emergency operators are asking people to call 9-1-1 when there's an emergency that requires police, fire, or EMS.
"If an individual's power is out and they have a person on some form of life support equipment, like oxygen or something like that, by all means calls us," said Bargdill.
People are asked to call their local electric company to report power outages.