Abusing the emergency system - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Abusing the emergency system


The Black Hawk County Dispatch Center receive hundreds of calls every day, but 30 percent of those calls are not serious, wasting precious resources.

"It's very expensive to send police officers and ambulances to locations throughout the city. We want to educate the public to not abuse the service we provide because the service we provide is a very precious commodity," said Director of Safety Services Dan Trelka.

A commodity that sometimes can be abused.

"There is one residence that I was made aware of recently where we actually responded to 68 calls," said Trelka.

On August 4th police and paramedics were called to a home in Waterloo because the resident said he got drunk, took his medicine, and hit his head. That's the 68th call to that home since January 1st, 2010.

"You says 68 times here?" said Frank Wells Jr.

"Since January 1st, 2010," said KWWL reporter Nikki Newbrough.

"No, he wasn't here this long, but in Waterloo period they has seen him a whole lot of times that's what that is," said Wells's brother.  

While Wells was not responsible for all 68 calls since he has only lived there for three months, Trelka says that one address alone has generated a lot of calls that didn't need emergency crews to respond.

"They were types of calls where my neighbor just threw a ball over the fence can you send a police officer. Other calls were I have had too much to drink and my stomach hurts can you send an ambulance to check me out," said Trelka.

Wells says the seriousness of the call shouldn't matter when it comes to emergency help.

"When I feel sick, I feel sick. I'm not calling you just to have you running out here. I don't need attention. If I need attention I get me some friends," said Wells.

Trelka says he doesn't want people to not call for emergency help, but just to be educated on the service provided. One not serious call could result in missing another more serious call.

The dispatch center also wants people to remember if they accidentally call 911 to stay on the line. If you hang up they do have to call you back. It's easier just to stay on the line.


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