Local News

Misdials to 911 continue year after Triangle starts 10-digit dialing

Posted April 16, 2013

— A year after area residents were forced to start dialing the area code when making local calls, people still cannot tell the difference between 919 and 911, officials said Tuesday.

Callers who mistakenly dial 911 instead of the area code have led to a 20 percent increase in calls to the Raleigh-Wake Emergency Communications Center over the last 12 months, officials said. The number of people who quickly hang up before a 911 operator can respond has almost doubled, they said, while the number of return calls made by emergency operators has soared by 80 percent.

Operators in March handled the highest number of misdials since August, officials said, adding that the downward trend in recent months hasn't been enough to provide relief to the dispatch center. Operators are handling about 100 more 911 calls a day than they were before 10-digit dialing began.

Misdials and hang-up calls divert resources from actual emergencies because dispatchers must dial back on hang-ups to ensure that an emergency is not taking place, officials said. If no response is received from the call-back, dispatchers send a police officer to the source of the call to make certain that no assistance is needed.

Law enforcement had to respond to more than 62,000 hang-up calls last year, including 36,000 in Raleigh, officials said.

Officials urged residents to dial more carefully and to remain on the line if they do dial 911 by mistake to save emergency personnel from wasting time.


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  • sommervilletranslations Apr 17, 2013

    I admit since I make lottsa phone calls in Wake County on a daily basis, I've dialed 911 probably half a dozen times in the past year. Now, that we got an internet based phone, though, I can catch the mistake right away before the call gets "sent."

  • jln1982 Apr 17, 2013

    Apparently 911's a joke in yo town.

  • jln1982 Apr 17, 2013

    911's a joke in your town.


  • carolinabluegrassfan Apr 17, 2013

    GrimReaper...yes, we do pay a 911 tax, and the system is not being used/tested now as you say...it is being abused, albiet accidentally. It's not about the money, the problem lies with diverting the attention of the telecommunicators and unneccesarily running the wheels off of law enforcement to ensure that the people who call and hang up don't have a valid emergency situation.

    Unless you've earned your living in the 911 Center or the driver's seat of a patrol car, I wouldn't expect you to appreciate the weight of this issue, but I would think that you could understand it.

  • carolinabluegrassfan Apr 17, 2013

    keymania, if only it were that simple. A sick or injured caller, or even someone under the stress of an emergency could easily push additional digits after 911. If those calls were electronically disconnected by the computer there would almost certainly be a real life or death emergency where the call was not received and responders were not dispatched.

    Joebob, everyone misdials, but staying on the line would have quickly resolved the situation instead of taking a deputy off of his patrol or delaying his response to another call.

  • keymania Apr 17, 2013

    The 911 system is all computer controlled. A very simple solution, if the 911 is entered with following 7-digit numbers, then the computer should kick that out as a dialing error. An valid 911 call has no other digits following.

  • BubbaDukeforPresident Apr 17, 2013

    chrisnrali - I share your pain. Not much worse than thought police when you hear much, much worse everywhere else.

  • joeBob Apr 17, 2013

    Dial more carefully...really, that's the solution? I did it the other day and no one called me back but a sheriff's deputy showed up at my door within 20 minutes.

  • JohnnyMcRonny Apr 17, 2013

    "So I suspect the issue is with older callers who aren't on cell phones or your average caller who just isn't paying attention." - Lone Voice in the Wilderness

    What a strange statement. So "older" people can't be "average"? If anything, using a regular land line phone with real buttons that give tactile feedback is less error prone than a flat panel with no feedback. FWIW, my cell phone is a dumb phone and has physical buttons, my home phones are push button as is my work phone.

    I love to see that stats (that don't probably exist) that breakdown the misdialing by phone type.

  • chrisnrali Apr 17, 2013

    Yes golo, I will continue to post this because it DOES NOT violate the terms of use anymore than any other post. You obviously just don't like what I post, leave your personal opinion out of your JOB.
    natural selection should've removed allot of crazy and dumb people many generations ago, but we continue to idyot-proof(talk to golo on the spelling) this world and they keep reproducing continuing to pass on these defective genes.