Prankster calls to EMSA is raising concerns

Friday, August 16th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

A Tulsa child has been busy dialing 911 lately, the trouble is, there's no emergency, the calls are pranks, and emergency workers are fed up.

Each time they have to race to a scene with lights and sirens blazing, it puts crews and citizens at risk. News on Six crime reporter Lori Fullbright takes a closer look at the problem. EMSA crews run hot to emergency calls because many times, just a minute or two can mean the difference between life and death. Imagine, if that emergency turned out to be nothing but a hoax, that's what one person has been doing lately.

Over and over, each time, making up a new creative crisis. Deanna Harding, EMSA dispatcher: "He's had chest pains, I've been shot, my friend's shot, cardiac arrest, he knows is going to get our attention."

Here's a sample of recent bogus calls. This one was supposedly a car wreck. Caller and dispatcher: "32nd and Garrison, two people hurt. Anyone real bad? Looks like someone is bleeding from the head." Because the caller is always on a cell phone, the folks at 911 aren't sure where the call is coming from, so they have to send a crew. This address was 3200 North Garrison, but it's nothing but the middle of this intersection."

Another emergency turned out to be nothing but this abandoned building. Yet another was an empty field. Caller: "My grandpa has had a stroke and fallen out of his wheelchair, can you please come to my house?" The calls are so frequent EMSA call takers recognize the voice and know when they start asking questions, the person will hang up, but crews must still respond.

This prankster has called EMSA 15 times this year and about 60 times last year, with additional calls to police and fire. EMSA plans to file a police report and if this person gets caught, he could be arrested and charged.