MONROE COUNTY, Miss. (WCBI)–Prank calls to 911 place an unnecessary burden on first responders and can be a danger to the public. Officials in Monroe County say they’ve seen an increase in these prank calls but most people are unaware that they’ve called 911.
The Monroe County Emergency Management Agency says there’s been a rise in accidental calls to 911. All calls are processed and as a result, phone lines could be tied up during a real emergency. If authorities discover that a false call to 911 is intentional, the prank caller could face a 5 thousand dollar fine or up to a year behind bars. Agency officials say there are a few things that can be done to avoid calling 911 by accident.
Agency Director Robert “Bunky” Goza said, “A majority of these calls are not intentional prank calls. They could be anything from people pocket dialing to actually having kids playing with cell phones. One thing to remember – even though a cell phone is not active, you’re still allowed to call two numbers. One being zero for the operator and the other being 911. So it’s a good practice not to let your children play with inactive phones or anything like that.”
Goza also said a great financial burden is especially placed on volunteer fire departments.