Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Michigan 911 defeats Michigan 311

For six months members of the Michigan Emergency Telephone Service Committee and state 911 Committee have argued against their 311 number, which was established in2003. This week they ruled that dispatch centers must discontinue using it.

The 311 number was intended to direct non-emergency calls -- barking dog complaints, questions about road closures and the like -- away from 911 operators. However, the number "really never caught on and never got to the popularity level we thought it would," said Tom McIntyre, Saginaw County 911 Communications Center Authority director. Also, neither cellphones nor those using VoIP would connect to the number.

"We got about 1,000 calls a month (on 311)," McIntyre said. About 30,000 calls come into 911 each month. "People will just have to call 911," McIntyre said. "If they want, they can always use our alternative, seven-digit non-emergency number, 797-4580." (info from The Saginaw News)

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