01/18/13 177 W - + 4 - 2 Careless 911 Misdials Continue to Plague Raleigh/Wake Emergency Communications Center

Press release.The Raleigh-Wake Emergency Communications center has released its analysis from 2012 that illustrates ten-digit dialing continues to cause significant problems .For 2012, the number of calls to 911 rose 18 percent with the number of outgoing calls increasing more than 36 percent. It is abundantly clear that 9-1-1 hang-up calls and misdials continue at an alarming pace. Instead of dialing the area code 919, callers are mistakenly dialing 9-1-1 and hanging up.

Misdials and hang-up calls divert resources away from actual emergencies since dispatchers must call back on hang-ups to assure that an emergency is not taking place. If no response is received from the call-back, dispatchers send a police officer to the source of the call to make certain that no assistance is needed.

Ten-digit dialing became mandatory in the area in late March. Hang-up calls requiring police dispatch have almost tripled from 2011 to 2012. In 2011, there were close to 17,500 hang-up calls. In 2012 that number soared to 52,160, which required more than 30,000 police officers dispatch calls.

Read entire press release.

I’m of the opinion that it will never end or get better. Either the emergency number will have to change or the area code will have to change (which, of course, neither can happen). It’s kind of like seat belt usage. No matter how much “outreach” you do, you’re not going to reach a certain percentage of people who think it can’t happen to them, until it does. And unlike seat belts, this is something you can accidentally do even if you ARE careful.
rfburns - 01/18/13 - 22:40

I think the city needs to put in place fines for the repeat offenders. I have been to the same businesses and residences on my beat and in my district over the course of the year. Just like with 44 alarms, there needs to be a fine put in place. Give the first or second in a 6 month window as freebies but charge after that. Start at $100 for the following offense then double from there on out (200, 400, 800, 1600, etc). That will get everyones attention fast while recouping the cost of gas and manpower going to the repeat offender. Just my 2 cents though…
RPD - 01/19/13 - 08:35

This is the new normal, get used to it. It doesn’t surprise me it’s happening, it does surprise me that you think you can re-educate the population of Wake county on 10-digit dialing in less than a year.
Paul - 01/19/13 - 12:06

Unfortunate that the problem was not foreseen and the 919 area code changed prior to 10-digit dialing. Could the Utilities Commission force a change of 919 to another number? The sequence could be the introduction of a replacement for 919 with a transition time with both 919 and the substitute working for 6 or 12 months, then drop 919. As a prior post points out, this problem will never go away completely. Possibly local emergency services along with local elected officials could start a campaign to get the 919 number changed. Remember the little engine that could :-)
Ed - 01/19/13 - 12:07

Nah, changing 919 to something else would never happen. Even though the hangups are costing us some money, it wouldn’t even begin to compare against the cost of everybody changing area codes on all their advertising, print material, etc. Like Paul said, this is the new normal. It’s not changing.
rfburns - 01/19/13 - 13:20

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