TOLEDO, Ohio (WNWO) — A bandaid change and a lost television remote.
These are real examples of reasons Toledoans have dialed 911, and the problems that have been created as a result are concerning.
But Toledo Fire and Rescue Chief Brian Byrd believes these people do think they need to call the emergency line, simply because they don't know where else to go.
"When people call, when things happen, in their eyes, it's an emergency. We have to be there to help them when we can, but some of these things can probably be handled in more of a non-emergent fashion by getting people diverted to the community services that can help them out."
Last year, more than 2,000 people made calls to 911 over four times.
That includes 49 people who called more than 24 times individually.
That's exactly why a task force was formed with several city organizations to find a better solution to the problem weighing on dispatchers, first responders and those facing real emergencies.
On Tuesday evening, the group listed some ideas it had come up with to better fight the problem.
The basic idea was to bring the problem more to the public, and establish that there needs to be a better way to get people to the proper resources, such as the United Way's 2-1-1 service that can better serve non-emergencies.
This way, 911 dispatchers aren't overworked in trying to find these resources for callers.
"The most important thing that everyone can do is educate themselves, their family, their neighbors, about who to call in a different situation, whether it's an emergency, whether it's in need for resources, whether it's a problem the city can help out with. I think a big education program and continuing to try to connect people to services," said City Council Member Sandy Spang.
One thing is for certain is that there are many that want to help, and many that have dedicated a lot of hours to finding solutions. The task force believes its only just begun, and more ideas will be coming in the future.
"People have really had their sleeves rolled up, and just are trying to get their arms around it. It's a really complex issue, but I feel like there's energy to really address it. The fact that people are volunteering, and the United Way is saying it can take a lead on these type of things, is really great," said Executive Director of Toledo Lucas County CareNet, Jan Ruma.
If you're wondering what kind of weight this puts on tax dollars, in 2017, 20 people called over 800 times to 911 for non-emergency calls. That cost the city roughly a quarter of a million dollars to respond.