Numbers to call for non-emergency needs in Kansas City

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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

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  • concerned citizen

    If you need to report an abandoned or illegally parked vehicle, an animal running around the neighborhood or that’s being neglected, you need to call the city action center by dialing 311. You should only call 911 if your life or someone else’s life is in immediate danger, including health related issues, (some examples are: someone armed with a weapon threatening someone else or themselves, a robbery in progress or just occurred, a burglary in progress or just occurred, an accident requiring an ambulance, domestic violence, or even people actively fighting & so on). These should be called in on 911. Just remember that the person waiting “on hold” could be having a heart attack or have just been shot & don’t have a few minutes to wait for the people who called 911 to find out where to go to make a report on their car getting scratched in a parking lot. Please call 234-5111 for something like that. You never know when it could be you, your child, or someone else you love who’s waiting to get through & literally dying while they wait.