911 callers mistake fireworks for gunshots in Guilford County around 4th of July

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GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Dispatchers at Guilford Metro 911 are braced for a busy week ahead of the Fourth of July holiday.

Supervisor Angela Mitchell said that staff see a big increase in call volume leading up to the holiday -- and an increase in callers confusing fireworks for gunfire.

"You have the ones that are illegal and the ones that are not and it could sound like gunshots so we just go ahead and send somebody out,” she said.

Mitchell said that dispatchers will ask a series of questions, like how many shots a caller thinks they hear, or if they hear anyone yelling for help or a car speeding away.

She said if a caller isn't sure what they're hearing, dispatchers will always send an officer to check.

Mitchell added that recent shootings in Greensboro and surrounding areas could also play a part in a call volume increase.

"Usually after something happens, you get more calls like that first month or so," she said. "People are just more cautious.”

From June 24 to July 1 dispatchers received 73 calls from people reporting gunfire. From May 24 to June 1, they received 66. There has also been an increase in calls about fireworks over the previous month.

Mitchell said that her team is prepared for a busy week while people celebrate July Fourth. She added that in case of an emergency, callers should give dispatchers as much information as possible over the phone. She said that even though help is on the way, those details could help crews before they arrive.

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