KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Across the country, 911 call centers receive thousands of bogus or accidental phone calls each year.
While dispatchers don't want to discourage people from calling, they say a large percentage of calls are for non-emergency situations. Not only does this cost taxpayers, but it takes time away from real emergencies.
At Kansas City's 911 communications center, operators are on the phone an average of two minutes to decipher a situation. They work about 120 incidents a year, which adds up to 250,000 phone calls. And while they couldn't put a dollar amount on the time for accidental or bogus calls, nationwide they make up anywhere from 20-90% of 911 calls.
Despite those calls, the Kansas City Fire Department is able to keep response time to less than five minutes for a fire and less than nine minutes for a medical emergency.
Some of those 911 calls that take up time and aren't really 911 calls include multiple calls on the same incident, citizens calling to solve personal issues and accidental calls.
"People should call 911 when it's a life-threatening event or when someone needs medical care and do not have access to that medical care," Nathan Dougan, KCFD, said.
The non-emergency numbers to call for police and fire are:
Kansas City Police Department: 816-234-5111
Kansas City Fire Department: 816-784-9200