WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) - The 4th of July is a beloved tradition by millions of Americans... But it's also the most dangerous holiday, and the busiest day of the year for first responders.

At the heart of it all is Sedgwick County's 911 call center.

Years ago, a non-emergency line was set up after one year was so busy for dispatchers that people had to walk to a fire station to get help for a fatal motorcycle accident.

This year, that non-emergency line worked better than ever. But it was still a hectic week for 911 operators.

Tracie Johnson's brother Joel was one of those callers early in the evening on July 4th because a big tree in his yard caught on fire.

Thankfully, he got through right away, and firefighters were there in no time.

But that's not always the case.

A few hours later, Tracie also had to call when she saw a fire near her house.

"I ended up calling 911 because I thought it was taking a while, and I got their recording. And the recording specifically tells you not to hang up," said Tracie.

But after a few minutes on hold, she heard the fire trucks, so she hung up.

Sedgwick County Emergency Communications Director Elora Forshee says it's always chaos the week of the 4th.

"The Fourth of July holiday is our busiest day of the year," said Forshee.

But this year, Forshee says a record 1,200+ called the non-emergency line, allowing operators to take care of real emergencies, which is no easy task.

"We have people that shoot themselves on the phone with us. We've had people that have been shot while on the phone with us. I can recall, years ago, a woman who was set on fire while she was on the phone with a dispatcher," said Forshee.

Overall, Forshee says it was a good year. And even the people like Tracie who had to wait say an operator quickly called them back.

"I was just impressed that she made it real clear she'd get back to him and make sure they were comfortable with how things were before they left," said Tracie.

The only other time of year the non-emergency line is active is New Year. Forshee says another way you can help is by calling your area substation instead of 911 for questions that don't involve an immediate threat.