Calling 911 and hanging up causes problems for police - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Calling 911 and hanging up causes problems for police

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Whether the call comes from a land line or a cell phone, If you hang up afterwards because you don't actually have an emergency, It can cause some serious problems for police.

The situation often goes like this: a child may play with a cell phone and dial 911, But such a mistake forces dispatchers to treat it as an emergency which needs attending.
If the call is made by a cell phone, dispatchers will call the phone back or try other means of finding the callers location. If the call comes from a land line police will be sent to the location.

"Everything costs money and everything costs time and our goal is to get to the people that need service immediately and if your kids are playing around on the phone and there's somebody out there that really needs help it's going to take time away," Benton County Emergency Services PIO Elizabeth Smith said.

Smith recommends next time you or your children dial 911 without an emergency to stay on the line. Try not to panic and hang up. If you stay on with dispatchers you can then explain what happened and the problem will be alleviated.

This story was filed by Hilary Whittier. If you have any story ideas please email her at