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Don’t dial 911 if it’s not an emergency, police say

October 31st, 2010 Posted in Opinion

By Chelsee Niebergall

LOGAN–There has been a nationwide push for “Save a life. Stop a crime. Report a fire” as guidelines for 911 emergency phone calls.

“It is important to protect 911 integrity, but it is also important to know that you can get hold of police for any situation,” Lieutenant Brad Franke of Logan City Police Department said.

911.utah.gov defines an emergency as “any situation that requires immediate assistance of emergency medical services, the police department or the fire department.”

When calling 911 there are important things to remember: know the address and city of your emergency, know your phone number, know the type of emergency and be calm when speaking with the operator.

Franke said that 911 is a way for police to get to people in an immediate emergency. He wants people to know that if there is an immediate emergency or a crime in action to feel free to call 911. However, if your emergency is not immediate, you should use a regular service number.

The regular service number for Logan is 435-753-7555.

When calling a regular service number the caller will get the same amenities as a 911 caller. The operator will find out what the problem is, take a few minutes to assess the situation with the caller and figure out what to do about it.

“We still want people to feel like they will get help with anything. Just if it is not an immediate emergency, people should call the service number so that the people who need immediate help can get it,” Franke said.

Abuse of a 911 phone line and an interruption of a 911 phone line are class B misdemeanors. Making an emergency phone call without valid reason, pranks on operators or harassing an operator are all considered abuse of a 911 phone line and will be charged, he said. If a person takes a phone away from someone placing an emergency phone call or tries to prevent someone from making an emergency call, they will be charged with interruption of a 911 phone line.

The state of Utah has a 911 plan as well as a 911 committee. The purpose of the committee is to ensure that everyone who has an emergency need gets help. The 911 plan’s mission statement is “to provide vision and leadership to support cities, counties, regional and local 911 authorities in their efforts to improve and modernize their 911 systems to insure that everyone can call for emergency assistance from the widest array of communication devices possible.”

“We just want everyone to be safe,” Franke said.


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