Local News


Bogus 911 calls slowing down response times

Posted at 6:39 PM, May 10, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-11 00:23:26-04
Valley fire departments are fed up with bogus 911 calls.
Las Vegas Fire and Rescue officials say people need to ask themselves if what's happening is life-threatening or if somebody's property is being destroyed, like in a fire.
The high number of inappropriate calls is tying up emergency phone lines and causing delays to reach people who have a real emergency.
Jerome Keever is a leader in his neighborhood watch.
He says in the past he's waited two hours for police to show up to an active burglary.
"The people that are calling to order a pizza should probably be schooled in what 911 is about," Keever said. "Maybe [they should pay] a small monetary fine."
Tim Szymanski of Las Vegas Fire and Rescue says non-emergency calls are part of the reason for longer response times.
He says people call 911 when they're lost, need directions or want to know what the road conditions are, among other minor problems.

To help the backlog of calls, there are mechanisms in place to not waste dispatchers' time.
About 99 percent of calls that reach the fire alarm office at Las Vegas Central Fire Station have been pre-screened for legitimacy.
Some still sneak through, and that could be the difference between life or death for a 6,000-square-mile coverage area.