Thursday, May 15, 2008

County Commissioner called 911 to complain about fire drill traffic jam

A county commissioner in Tennessee apparently broke the law on Saturday when he called 911 to complain about a fire drill that inconvenienced him.

It is against the law to call 911 if it's not an emergency and if the call ties up 911 lines that would otherwise be used to handle life-or-death situations.

On Saturday the Sequatchie County Sheriff's Department held a fire drill inside the jail. They called in all six fire departments that serve the county. The sheriff says there were more than a dozen fire trucks lined up taking part in the exercise.

The controversy arose when County Commissioner Reggie Camp said he couldn't get by all the fire trucks. He said: "this is Reggie Camp. I'm just wondering why they got the dad-blammed road blocked, going up Fredonia Mountain at the jail?"

Sheriff Ronnie Hitchcock explained "Saturday we were doing a state-mandated fire drill of the justice center, this is required by the state to keep our state certification. We found there were a lot of things we need to brush up on, that we didn't do right."

The sheriff said firefighters laid hoses from hydrants and trucks in the street to the buildings' sprinkler system to make sure all systems work. "This is the same kind of response we'd have in a real situation. We weren't playing games. This was the real thing, everybody was serious."

Michael Twitty, director of the Sequatchie County Emergency Communications District, said it's a class-C misdemeanor to make non-emergency calls, like Camp made, to 911, but the district probably won't file charges. (info from ABC TV, Chatanooga, TN)

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