Emergency number for fireworks issues established

To avoid overwhelming the 911 reporting system during this year’s Fourth of July holiday — a busy time for emergency responders — Kitsap authorities have established a temporary, non-emergency hotline.

And they encourage residents to use their best judgment regarding its use.

The holiday non-emergency reporting number is 360-307-5811.

When you should call 911

Residents should think carefully, officials said, before dialing 911 during the holiday, and do so only if there is an immediate life-threatening situation in progress.

The non-emergency complaint line will be in service from 1 p.m. June 30 through 7 a.m. July 5.

Officials said the non-emergency complaint line was created out of concern that callers seeking to report actual life-threatening occurrences on 911 would be unable to get through should an especially high frequency of calls occur.

It’s happened before, officials reported.

Though last year was once again fraught with an unusual high number of calls typical of the holiday, officials said, it was the unprecedented number of reports Kitsap 911 received in 2015 that spawned the creation of the non-emergency alternative.

Receivers were inundated with non-stop ringing phones, officials said, and constant radio traffic that year. At the peak, 22 calls were answered in a single hour.

Complaints and inquiries regarding fireworks, 911 officials said, were especially troublesome — and often unnecessary.

“If someone believes that fireworks are posing an imminent threat of fire or injury, they should call 911,” Kitsap 911 Deputy Director Maria Jameson-Owens said.

“We ask citizens to really consider whether their complaint is worth potentially blocking 911 access from some who is having a heart attack before they dial.”

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