Don't Hang Up If You Accidentally Call 911 - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Don't Hang Up If You Accidentally Call 911

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NASHILLE, Tenn. - If you accidentally dial 911, don't hang up, hang on.

People frequently hang up, but dispatchers have to call back or send police, which takes away from real emergency calls.

Hanging up on a 911 operator is not only inconsiderate, it's illegal.

Metro is launching a campaign to cut back on a problem operators such as Tricia Cummando face every day.

She said she's fielded calls from purses and pets.

"Yeah, I've had that happen before. Other people I know have gotten dogs before. They call. They have emergencies, too," she said.

These types of hang-ups are down 18.5 percent in Metro among land lines.

Hang-ups from cell phones are up 74 percent in the last two years.

Hanging up only makes an operator more suspicious.

"So you're going to have a call taker that is tied up trying to reach you back after you've hung up, when they could be assisting somebody with an emergency call," Amanda Sluss, a spokeswoman for Metro's Office of Emergency Management.

Operators are trained to try callers back three times.

"A lot of times it goes to voicemail all three times," Cummando said, "and you're left with, 'Ok, I have to at least consider this a real 911 emergency."

Operators then send an officer to the caller.

Metro has a campaign, called "don't hang up, hang on," Sluss said.

It's a message that's obviously sinking in...

"I've been listening to your commercial. I stayed on," said one caller to a 911 operator.

"Oh," replied the operator before laughing. "Thank you. Wish everybody else could do that."

Metro said no one should program 911 into their cell phone's speed dial.

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