Area code requirements wreaking havoc on 911

April 18, 2012 2:16:01 PM PDT
Officials said careless dialing of the new ten-digit dialing requirement has caused some problems with the Raleigh-Wake Emergency Communications Center.

Misdials and hang-up calls related to the new dialing requirements are slowing 911 dispatchers response time and overtaxing operators receiving calls.

The new 10-digit dialing system is intended to accommodate the growing need for telephone numbers in the area served by the 919 area code.

In order to meet the growing demand, the new 984 area code has been applied to the same geographical area as the 919 area code.

Callers within the new 919/984 geographical areas are required to dial the appropriate three-digit area code followed by the seven-digit telephone number.

On Saturday, there were 103 incidents were Raleigh police were dispatched to residences where callers erroneously dialed 911 and hung up. Other agencies dispatched by the facility also saw an increase in volume.

The 911 center dispatched more than four times the number of responders than it would have before the dialing change.

The Raleigh-Wake Emergency Communication Center said a person must stay on the line and talk to the 911 dispatchers, if they accidentally dial 911.

Dispatchers have to dial back hang-ups to assure that an emergency has not taken place. If no response is received from the call-back, the dispatchers are required to send a police officer to the source of the call to verify no assistance is needed.

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