Here’s why you shouldn’t call 911 about a power outage

Don't call 911 for a power outage

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - With a winter storm approaching the Hamilton County Communications Center is staffing up for a busy weekend of 911 calls.

“Under these types of storm events, in addition to traffic accidents and concerns about elderly who can’t get outdoors or can’t get their supplies that they need, people do tend to call us about power outages,” Communications Director Andrew Knapp said.

Non-emergency calls to inquire about road conditions or power outages are something Knapp says can be problematic and keep dispatchers busy while other residents are trying to reach the center about an immediate danger to themselves or someone else.

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“When you’re calling for non-emergency type of issues that we really can’t even control, that makes it even more a challenge for us to handle the actual emergencies that are coming in,” Knapp said.

Dispatchers FOX19 spoke with say during storms the most common inquiry is about power outages, a subject the communications center has little-to-no information on. Those looking for information on outages are asked to contact their power suppliers (many of which have call centers to handle those specific inquiries).

Knapp says dispatchers try to help where they can but aren’t provided with regular updates on road conditions or power outages and they operate out of a room with no windows so many times they’re unaware of the weather conditions outside of their own building.

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