Phantom Calls Tying Up 911 Lines

Getting a busy tone is more and more 911 call centers phone lines are being tied up with phantom cell phone calls.

Cell phone users are dialing 911 without even knowing it. It's a non emergency call that keeps the Amarillo dispatch centers lines folks with real emergencies are not able to get through. So we sat down with Susan Richardson, a 911 dispatcher in Amarillo to see what's happening.

"We're the answering point for the fire department and medical for the city of amarillo so if somebody is having a heart attack and they can't get through...then it can cause a problem...a serious problem."

A problem Richardson says is common in Amarillo, because phantom calls make up about 40 percent of all inbound calls and all have to be responded to.

"We've had a lot of manpower, a lot of different agencies. We've had times when we've had potter and randall counties, highway patrol  and aes guys out looking for people."

Costing tax payers unneccessary money and preventing people who really need help to have to wait longer periods of time.

"If they could just stay on the phone and say oh I'm sorry it was an accident, we're happy with that."

To avoid that cell phone users can block the keypad on their phones, because something this simple can save a life.