Baldwin Co. E-911: Social media prank wastes emergency resources

MILLEDGEVILLE, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – A social media prank could cost 911 centers across the country valuable resources.

We all know 911 is a helpful set of digits–and emergencies are no joke.

That’s why the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office isn’t laughing at a social media prank going around.

“Why? Really,” said Baldwin County E-911 Director Mandy Ptak. “I mean you know it’s going to call 911, or even if you don’t, I don’t see the purpose in it.”

The post may tell iPhone users something like “tell Siri to dial 108 and close your eyes” or “tell Siri 108 and she’ll tell you a joke.”

Except there’s nothing funny about calling 911 when you don’t need it.

“We encounter that a lot–people call and and panic mode–especially when we call them back,” said Ptak. I think they think if they hang out quick enough you won’t catch it. Truth is, it starts recording on our end before we even pick up the phone–as soon as the last one connects.”

If you hang up quickly after falling for the prank, the call center will call you back.

And if you don’t pick up the phone, it’s a big waste of time.

“Our 911 dispatchers we think they’re some of best in the state of Georgia,” said Major Scott Deason with the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office. “They work very hard on 12 hour shifts with very few minutes of downtime.”

Major Scott Deason is in charge of field operations for the Baldwin Co. Sheriff’s Office.

“And the last thing they need to be concerned with is calls that are not pertinent to what they’re doing,” said Deason.

Because what they’re doing could save lives, which is never a joke.

“It does slow down our response to our true and significant emergencies that we have,” said Deason.

The phone is set to recognize emergency numbers from around the world, including 108, which is used in India.

Ptak also says be careful with old cell phones you may give your children to play with.

Even if they aren’t connected to a cell phone plan, if they have a battery in they can call 911.

Categories: Baldwin County, Local News

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