05/13/13 254 W - + 5 - 1 Raleigh-Wake ECC Sending Letters to Businesses with High Numbers of 911 Misdials

Press release. To help reduce misdialed calls to the Raleigh-Wake Emergency Communications Center, letters are being sent to businesses that have a high number of errant 9-1-1 emergency calls. The letters began going out this month.

In March 2012, an area code overlay was put in place in Raleigh and central North Carolina that required 10-digit dialing for local calls. Unfortunately, the similarity between the 9-1-9 area code and the 9-1-1 emergency number created a flood of misdialed calls to the Raleigh-Wake Emergency Communications Center. More than a year after 10-digit calling has taken effect, these misdials continue.

During the last 12 months since the institution of the area code overlay, 9-1-1 calls have increased by 20 percent. In addition, outbound calls --- those made by staff in the 9-1-1 center --- rose by 80 percent and the number of callers who hung up before 9-1-1 could answer rose by an even higher 92 percent.

Misdials and hang-up calls divert resources away from actual emergencies because dispatchers must dial 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.

In his letter to businesses with frequent 9-1-1 misdials, ECC Director Barry Furey invites owners/operators to contact him personally to discuss ways “to reduce this burden.”

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