NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Around one million calls come into Davidson County’s Emergency Communication Center every year.
The majority of those calls are from people who are in desperate need of help, but there are a number of calls that come from people who are calling 911 for the wrong reason.
“Could you give me the name of the [redacted] beauty shop,” one caller asked.
Another call, “I got my key stuck in a sign.”
Those are just two examples of calls that dispatchers who are trained to respond to life or death situations get stuck answering.
“What that does is it ties up the line for people who do have a true life threatening emergency,” ECC Director Michele Donegan said. “It is important we do educate on the difference between calling 911 and [the non-emergency line] 615-862-8600.”
The emergency communication center has radio ads running in English and Spanish.
The ad gives examples of both non-emergency calls and calls that are proper 911 calls for help.
In 2015, Metro police charged around 120 people for calling 911 for a non-emergency, which is a misdemeanor.
“When it is that life-threatening emergency call 911 because we want to get help to you quickly,” Donegan said. “If it is not a life threatening emergency, call 615-862-8600.”
ECC also reminds parents to speak to their children about the proper use of 911.
They suggest also teaching your children to dial 9-1-1 not 9-11 because there is no 11 on the telephone keypad.
Also, remind children not to make false 911 calls.
When calling 911 dispatchers remind you to remain calm, listen and answer the dispatcher’s questions as accurately as possible.
Also, don’t argue with the dispatcher or hang up until the dispatcher tells you to hang up.
If you accidentally call 911 stay on the line and tell the dispatcher. If you hang up they are required to call you back.
Interstate billboards in English and Spanish are also in place.