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‘Please don’t abuse us’: 911 calls hit record high in Northeast Ohio

Published: Jan. 6, 2022 at 8:00 PM EST
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) -The phone at the Twinsburg dispatch has been ringing off the hook with people desperate for an ambulance.

“Over 420 call increase and percentage-wise that’s a 15% increase for us,” said Fire Chief Tim Morgan.

Those numbers may not strike you as a huge increase, but for a small department like the one in Twinsburg, it means at many times all three of their ambulances are out on a call.

Many of the calls coming through Twinsburg dispatch are not emergencies.

People are often calling with concerns over non-life-threatening COVID-19 symptoms.

So while crews are tied up with non-emergencies, people who have real ones are in a bad spot, waiting to get the help they need.

“About 30%of the time we have overlapping calls and we have limited staff, so if we’re on call number one and call number two, call number three may be hard for us to cover,” said Morgan.

Morgan is asking that you ask yourself some questions before dialing 911, such as:

  • Is someone unresponsive?
  • Are bones broken?
  • Are they experiencing something like a heart attack or stroke?

If the answer is yes, call 911.

If it’s not, remember you have other options.

Reminding us to utilize telehealth, urgent care, and your primary care physician.

″They need a plan, they need to know who their doctors are how to access them,” said Morgan ”all those avenues can be a better way to access health care”

With hospitals understaffed and at capacity, Morgan said even if they take you to the hospital, you still might be waiting.

Some of his crews have waited more than an hour to hand off patients.

Again, keeping them unavailable to help those with emergency needs.

“We’re here if you need us, but if you can please don’t abuse us,” said Morgan.

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