(WMC-TV) - 911 can be life saving, but what if you can't get through because the line is tied up on a non-emergency call? Officials in one Mid-South community say its happening far too often.
Dispatchers say calls into Tipton County's 911 can sometimes get a little far-fetched.
"A six year old child wouldn't come inside from the front yard?? That's not the child's fault, that's the parents fault for calling," Tipton County Sheriff Pancho Chumley said. "The parent should correct that behavior. 911 shouldn't have to do that."
Chumley says his department answers anywhere from 3,000 to 4,000 calls a month. He says if someone calls 911 with a non-emergency, someone else could lose their life.
Chumley's deputies and local police have to answer every 911 call, even if it's not an emergency when they get on location.
"If we have an emergency call, we're running emergency traffic to get to a call, and other people could be in danger, especially my officers or other emergency personnel responding to the call," he said.
In fact, misusing 911 can get you into trouble. You could be charged up to $2,500 and spend up to a year in jail.
"Do not accidentally call 911," Chumley said. "Don't play with the phone when it comes to dialing 911. It needs to be a true emergency."
So the next time you call 9-1-1, think twice about whether or not it's a true emergency.
Tipton County's non-emergency phone number is 901-475-4300