Mansfield Fire: Call 911 For Emergencies, Not Business Line

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MANSFIELD, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — First responders in Mansfield are reminding residents not to undersell the importance of calling 911 for any emergency, no matter how small it may seem.

The Mansfield Fire Department tells WBZ's Chris Fama that they are experiencing an increase in people calling their business line or leaving voicemails instead of dialing 911 for an appropriate response to their home or business.

Some calls coming in from residents mention their fire or carbon monoxide alarms are going off, but since they don't smell or see anything wrong, they say it's nothing to request emergency help for.

"They just feel like they're wasting our time or they're wasting the resource because it doesn't seem like it justifies the need for a 911 call. We have to respond to all people, that's what people pay their taxes for — it's our job, we don't mind doing it," said MFD Deputy Chief Robert Merritt.

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Officials say the 911 regional dispatch center will triage calls and send the apparatus fit for the response. The MFD says residents should never leave a voicemail on the business line if they need a response, as it may take more than a day before someone sees the message.

"We have experience — people aren't necessarily going to see something as simple as food on the stove, heat extending into the vent system and they could have a fire in the wall or cabinetry that they don't see. Just dial 911, you're wasting precious minutes in certain circumstances, or you could be," Merritt said.

WBZ's Chris Fama (@CFamaWBZ) reports.

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