VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) - More than 99 percent of all cell phone calls for 911 are by accident and local dispatchers say those calls are jamming the system, making it hard to deal with real emergencies.
"A visitor to the Oceanfront dialed 911 34 times unbeknownst to him," Operations Manager at the Virginia Beach Emergency Communications Center Lori Stiles said. "911 attempted 44 calls back to him before we reached him and he indicated his phone had dialed an error and he did not need assistance."
In a recent period between July and September, Stiles said the system logged close to 50,000 calls, a very small number of which were real emergency calls.
"Probably less than one percent that we document actually turned out to be a call for service where somebody needs police, fire or EMS response. The majority of the time we find out they're accidental calls," Stiles said.
Stiles advises callers not hang up when they accidentally dial 911.
"We ask that the caller actually stay on the phone and report to the call taker in 911 that the calls was an accident," Stiles said.
That frees up call takers to deal with actual emergency responses, not having to call back and double check or send out an officer to verify the call.
Charges have been made in a domestic abuse investigation involving a 74-year-old woman in Elizabeth City.
Witnesses tell WAVY.com the attack of a shopper was the cause of a heavy police presence at the Ross department store at Military Circle in Norfolk Wednesday night.
Drivers traveling between Hatteras Island and the mainland were forced to use an emergency ferry Wednesday, following the sudden closure of the Bonner Bridge Tuesday.