FARMINGTON, Utah — More than 100 inaudible phone calls were made to Davis County’s 9-1-1 Communication Center this weekend — calls that were traced directly back to cell phones at nearby Lagoon Amusement Park.
“We know the sound of the white roller-coaster very well,” said Amanda Glezos, an assistant manager at the Davis County 9-1-1 Communication Center who has been working at the center for 17 years. “You just never know what you’re going to get on the other end of the line.”
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In the case of 66 calls made to 9-1-1 on Saturday and 38 on Sunday, heard on the other end of the line were the muffled sounds of amusement park rides, laughter and screaming. According to the dispatch center, none of those calls were deemed an actual emergency. However, with dispatchers spending anywhere from three to five minutes per call, between the documentation of the call and calling the initial caller back, that’s time that dispatchers say they should be answering actual calls for service.
“Each one of those calls, they’re all treated the same: as an emergency, and it ties up a dispatcher,” said Glezos. “It’s tying up a dispatcher when we have somebody that might be calling in with an actual emergency.”
It’s not just visitors at Lagoon that end up calling 9-1-1 inadvertently; dispatchers say it happens all the time. However, the dramatic increase and direct correlation to the park is time-consuming for an already limited number of dispatchers.
“A lot of people will put their phones in their pockets and not realizing that the impact of the ride pushes on the seat or something and they’ll end up calling us,” said Glezos, who notes that not all ‘pocket dials’ are a waste of time. In fact, they’ve led dispatchers to many instances where people did require help.
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For those heading to Lagoon, dispatchers recommend stowing your phone in an area where the buttons cannot be unintentionally pressed (perhaps even a fanny pack). While they certainly don’t want to discourage people from calling 9-1-1, they recommend using the non-emergency line (801-451-4150) to address non-urgent matters that may still require assistance.
If you end up dialing 9-1-1 unintentionally, dispatchers would advise that you either stay on the line to complete the call or pick up their return call to let them know that you’re OK and do not require assistance.