Emergency calls get close scrutiny

Emergency calls get close scrutiny
Chief Ron Rowe
Chief Ron Rowe

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Because of recent threats or attacks on emergency responders across the country, 911 Call centers must treat hang ups or mystery calls with more caution. 

All 911 calls are checked by first responders to see if help is needed, but calls that provide little information have to be treated as a possible threat or even a trap.

On an actual call to Albany 911 July 19th at 6:25 PM from an address on Fleming Road, we heard: "This is Albany 911, do you need police, fire or EMS?"

The 911 operator never got a verbal response, and the cell phone reportedly was disconnected.

Dougherty County Police were dispatched, but warned to use caution. Albany Fire Chief and 911 Director Ron Rowe said "That threat is always in public safety's mind, and anytime we go somewhere the threat is, what kind of call is it. And what is the reason for it."

This 911 call was investigated and found to be a prank call.  But because of recent terrorism actions and police threats around the world, 911 calls are more closely watched.

Rowe said "Since the events of 911, public safety has a mindset of making sure that they protect themselves.  Any call and every call that we go to we want to make sure that first responders are safe, as well as trying to protect the ones we are going to."

Homeland Security warns first responders to be aware of calls where someone may be learning response times, emergency routes or standard operations. 

That's why each call to 911 is more closely scrutinized than ever-- even the prank calls.

Even cell phones that have been taken out of service can call 911, and parents should not let children play with old cell phones that still have battery power.

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