Sedgwick County authorities will begin staffing a phone line today for fireworks complaints in order to keep 911 lines free for emergency calls.
Beginning at 6 p.m. today and running until 3 a.m. Thursday, county residents will be able to call 316-290-1011 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 recently. “It’s not a convenience call, it’s a necessary call.”
Last year on the Fourth of July, calls to 911 more than doubled, tying up all 20 emergency phone lines. Many of the calls were fireworks complaints.
Two callers trying to report a serious motorcycle accident the night of July 4 in west Wichita couldn’t get through to dispatchers. The motorcyclist later died. County commissioners later authorized the separate fireworks line to prevent a similar occurrence from happening this year.