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Call non-emergency lines for firework complaints

Posted at 10:17 PM, Jul 01, 2020

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — You may have heard some fireworks the last few nights… but if you call 911 to complain, you're doing more harm than good.

Dispatch centers are asking you to call a different number instead, which could help in saving someone's life.

"As we continue and get closer to the date, we get more and more calls," said Rachel Porter with Douglas County dispatch.

Porter said they've received numerous 911 calls regarding firework complaints, which is causing issues down the line

"If they come in on the 911 line, we think it's an emergency. We have to answer it and then we have to decide this is a non-emergency,” said Porter. “We have to put that person on hold and then go on so that we make sure we get to people who are having an actual emergency in a timely manner."

Douglas County residents with firework complaints need to call the non-emergency line which won't take priority over true emergency calls

"So even just taking a few minutes to say ‘okay, hold on, I'm going to put you on hold. This is not an emergency call. I’ll come right back to you as soon as I can’ takes time away from someone who's going to need you faster,” said Porter.

"It's so important for people to call 911 when there is an emergency but it's just as important for people to not call 911," said Megan Stubenhofer-Barrett, Sarpy County Communication Manager.

Sarpy County also has a non-emergency line people need to use for firework complaints.

"That's available all year, not just during fireworks season, so we want people to really start learning that number, get used to calling it for non-emergencies," said Stubenhofer-Barrett.

Keep in mind if someone is injured by a firework or there is another emergency caused by them, then you still need to call 911, but if not, calling the non-emergency line may save someone's life.

"Seconds can make a huge difference in life or death emergencies," said Porter.

The Douglas County non-emergency number is 402-444-5802 while the Sarpy County non-emergency number is 402-593-4111.