911 is not an information number. Do not use it that way.
On Friday night at about midnight, the siren warning system in Dallas was hacked causing all sirens in the city of Dallas to blare. The hacker, whom local officials believe was local, rehacked the system at least 12 times, setting off the alarms again each time they were turned off.
Between midnight and 12:15 a.m., 911 received more than 800 calls either to report the sirens or to ask why the sirens were blaring.
The 911 system is not an information line and the city needs to fine people who use it as one. I’m talking big fine. Like $1,000. I know you’re probably glued to your phone, but put your goddamn phone down and turn on the TV. Some people claimed they did turn on the TV and no one knew why the sirens were blasting. So they called 911. If you hung up while trying to get through to 911, someone from 911 had to take the time to call you back, further tying up the system.
The 911 system is for personal emergencies. The storm siren blaring outside is not your personal emergency. You looked outside. The weather was fine. So why did you call the emergency number? Because you’re selfish. Or thoughtlessly stupid. You should be fined.
I’m sorry the sirens were disturbing you. Reporters for local TV stations have phone numbers of officials to find out what’s going on. When they got on TV to say there’s no weather emergency and they don’t know if anything else is wrong, why would you think 911 would have more information that they’d share with just you? In the next three hours, 911 got more than 4,000 additional calls.
During that time, someone was unable to report a fire. Someone who needed immediate medical help couldn’t get through to paramedics. Someone who needed police help couldn’t get it. For me, this is personal. When you need 911, don’t hesitate to call. When you need 911, you want an operator to respond immediately. You don’t want to watch a loved one die while on hold, because the lines are tied up with people looking for some information.