Save the 911 calls for emergencies only - FOX 13 News

Save the 911 calls for emergencies only

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

In a real emergency every second counts.  

Often, 911 dispatchers are the first to get the call.

"It is one of those jobs you have to be almost perfect when you're doing the job," said communications supervisor Karrie Sterling.

A crime could be in progress, or there may be a medical emergency, either way dispatchers need to be ready for it all.
"Tampa 911 what's the emergency? I'd like to ask you a question? Do you have to pay inheritance tax?"

Yes, that is a real call to Tampa's 911 center. 

Dispatchers say of the 1,000 plus calls a day, about half are non-emergencies.

Some aren't even close.

"911 what's your emergency? No emergency, do you set the clock an hour up or hour back?"

Sure it's funny, but officials say calls like this can be a serious problem.

"When they're handling calls like this, there are people with genuine emergencies where they need help or medical attention, they're waiting for their call to be answered," said Sterling.

TPD is releasing these calls as a reminder: 911 is for emergencies only. 

It's the same message we learned as kids.

"They teach 2nd and 3rd graders that on a simulator, but often times our adults don't understand what's an emergency," said spokesperson Andrea Davis.

"I think it's the easiest number to remember, so when they don't know what else to do they think 911 will help," said Sterling.

So write this down, this is the non-emergency line: 813-231-6130.

"If there is an emergency there's no question dial 911, but you don't need to call us about paying taxes or when to set your clock back," said Davis.

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