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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Sedgwick County has separate phone number for fireworks complaints

By Simina Mistreanu
The Wichita Eagle

Sedgwick County authorities, bracing for another fireworks season, are asking residents to call a number for non-emergency complaints in an attempt to keep 911 lines free for emergency calls.

People will be able to call 316-290-1011 from 6 p.m. July 4 until 3 a.m. July 5 to report fireworks complaints. The calls will be handled by four dispatchers and a supervisor, said Randy Bargdill, the county’s director of emergency communications.

“We need to go back to calling 911 for emergency calls only,” Bargdill said. “It’s not a convenience call, it’s a necessary call.”

Last year around the Fourth of July, there were 1,101 fireworks complaint calls. It was the first time 911 was overwhelmed, Bargdill said.

Two callers trying to report a serious motorcycle accident in west Wichita couldn’t get through to dispatchers. The motorcyclist later died.

Bargdill hopes that because the Fourth of July falls on a Wednesday this year and will not be part of a longer holiday weekend, there won’t be as many problems.

“It’s going to be a loud night,” he said.

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