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.