City Of Tulsa Reminds Residents When To, Not To Call 911

Tuesday, January 6th 2015, 11:13 pm
By: News On 6

With calls coming in during all hours of the day and night, 911 Centers are 24 hour operations.

Recently, the city of Tulsa realized it was dealing with a lot of unnecessary calls that were clogging its emergency lines. It's now reminding residents when they should, and should not, call 911.

The call center in Tulsa is a hub for all things dealing with police, fire and ambulance; but often times the dispatchers are bogged down by people calling 911 for everything from football scores to questions over utility bills.

More than 1 million calls a year come through the Tulsa 911 call center, many of which aren't actual emergencies - ten percent of the 1.2 million calls a year are pocket dials.

Terry O'Malley, 911 Director for Tulsa, said the city realized people needed a bit of a refresher on when to actually call 911 and when to opt for a non-emergency number.

Meagan: "Do you get people calling over water bill questions?”

O'Malley: “Yes, yes, yes, we do, and we're doing lots of transfers, and we will transfer you."

The city recently put together a video with a plea from Tulsa Police Chief Chuck Jordan.

Watch The Full Video

“When we have a lot of non-emergency calls coming in it delays our response,” he said.

In the few moments we spent at the call center Tuesday, we witnessed it firsthand. While dispatcher, Donna Rutherford, was dealing with pocket dials and bail bond questions, another call came in with information about a shooting.

It's with a friendly reminder that Tulsa emergency workers are asking to keep 911 lines free for when the true emergencies happen.

"If you're injured and need an ambulance, your house is burning down, or someone is trying to break in. Please call 911, because you feel the need for an officer because something bad is going to happen," said O'Malley.

Some other non-emergency calls include fuel spills, or reporting a crime that happened hours or days ago.

A list of non-emergency phone number includes:

  • Police: 918-596-9222
  • Fire: 918-596-9977
  • Tulsa County: 918-596-5600
  • Dead Animal Pickup: 918-596-2100
  • After Hours Water/Sewer: 918-596-9488
  • EMSA: 918-596-3010