Sedgwick County Emergency Communications officials are asking those with noise or nuisance complaints not to call 911 tonight so that the center’s 20 emergency lines will remain open for actual emergencies.
Anyone who calls 911 with a non-emergency complaint will be transferred to a recording that explains why their call is not being taken by a dispatcher.
New Year’s Eve and the Fourth of July are typically the busiest nights of the year for 911 dispatchers, thanks to the number of non-emergency fireworks complaints.
Last July 4, some 911 callers who were trying to report what turned out to be a fatal motorcycle crash received busy signals as the 911 center’s phone lines were tied up with fireworks complaints.
One witness, after several failed attempts to contact 911, called his father, an off-duty police officer, who used his police radio to contact dispatchers about the accident near 37th Street North and Ridge Road.
Another witness, who was driving to an EMS station to report the accident, flagged down a Maize police officer who used his radio to contact 911.
Sedgwick County spokeswoman Amanda Matthews said those who want to be contacted by a police officer about a fireworks complaint should still call 911.
Those who want to file a complaint but do not want to be contacted by officers should not call 911, she said.
The recording will tell callers that 911 is a resource that should be used only to report a fire, a medical emergency or a crime.
It also should be used to report any activity that might result in harm to a person, animal or property, or to report suspicious activity that can cause such harm.