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County fire asks public to stop calling 911 ‘for stubbed toes and sore throats’

The Clark County Fire Department is asking the public to stop calling 911 for “stubbed toes and sore throats” — actual examples of inappropriate emergency calls the department has received, fire chief Greg Cassell said Tuesday.

Facing record numbers of calls for service, Cassell instead urged people to call 911 only “for a true medical emergency, fire or police emergency.”

“We ran over 150,000 responses (to emergency calls) last year, and we anticipate — well, we don’t anticipate, we already know it’s up 3½ percent plus this year,” Cassell said.

To spread awareness about when and when not to call 911, the department also said Tuesday that county fire partnered this year with dispatch students at Veterans Tribute Career and Technical Academy.

After learning side by side with real county dispatchers, the high school students created public service announcements about when to call 911, which premiered Tuesday. A county-produced PSA will air on Clark County Television in the future.

Elaborating on the things some people call 911 about, Cassell mentioned many calls about pets.

“People will name their pets and they’re very passionate about their pets, but they will call up and say, ‘Somebody’s not breathing,’” Cassell said. “We think it’s a human being, we get there and it’s their dog.”

When people need help but the situation isn’t an emergency, Cassell encouraged people to call 311 instead.

Contact Rachel Crosby at rcrosby@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5290. Find @rachelacrosby on Twitter.

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