Thousands call 911 on 4th of July

Sedgwick County 911 Call Center

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WICHITA, Kansas – The special emergency line to report fireworks complaints in Sedgwick County is working, but a lot of people still call 911 first.

“It will run tonight (Friday) from 6:30 p.m. (until 3:00 a.m.) and we will also run it tomorrow night (Saturday) even though fireworks are not legal tomorrow night,” says 911 Interim Director Kim Pennington. “We anticipate that they might be blowing some off.”

Sedgwick County set up the non-emergency hotline so the 911 lines would not be jammed with fireworks complaints and people with real emergencies could get through to dispatchers.

On the 4th of July, 3265 people called 911. A normal day is 1200 to 1400 calls.

The fireworks complaint hotline opened at 6:30 p.m. and was open until 3 in the morning. During that time, it took 490 phone calls, while 911 took 2024 calls.

Even with so many calls still going to 911, officials say the hotline is helping.

Still, emergency workers say you should call 911 if you think you may have an emergency.

“You have got to go off your gut,” said Kim Pennington, Interim 911 Director. “If you feel it’s an emergency, don’t hesitate to call 911. If we determine that it should be on that other system, then we have a button and we will just transfer it out of our 911 queue and put it over to that queue.”

This is the last day to legally buy and use fireworks in Sedgwick County so the hotline will be open tonight from 6:30 until 3 a.m. Officials will also keep it open through Saturday night anticipating some people may illegally shoot more fireworks.

If you have a fireworks complaint, call 316-290-1011.

 

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