911 calls in county fell and rose with Super Bowl

EVERETT — A lull, and then a burst of noisy exuberance.

Neighbors screaming. Fireworks exploding. Hands high-fiving.

Emergency activity in Snohomish County dropped during Sunday’s Super Bowl, according to 911 call data. The moment the game ended, though, local dispatch centers saw a steep bump in 911 calls, particularly for fireworks and noise complaints.

During the game, 911 calls dropped by 41 percent compared to the same time during other winter Sundays, said Kurt Mills, executive director for SNOPAC, the dispatch center serving Everett and north and east Snohomish County.

SNOPAC had prepared for the lull — and the later spike — after seeing a similar pattern when the Seahawks played in the NFC Championship against the San Francisco 49ers two weeks earlier on Jan. 19.

“It hit us immediately when the time was done,” he said. “Even before the presentation of the Lombardi Trophy, we saw the uptick.”

At SNOCOM, which serves the southwest corner of the county, dispatchers saw a 31 percent drop in 911 calls during the game and a 75 percent increase immediately afterward, compared to usual Sundays, Executive Director Debbie Grady said Monday.

“We did see a decrease in activity during the game; it’s a great time to go to Costco,” she joked.

Most of the increase in 911 activity after the game was related to the fireworks, she said. The calls peaked between 7 and 8 p.m., according to SNOPAC data.

Other events that can trigger bursts in 911 calls like that are winter storms, the Fourth of July and New Year’s Eve, Mills said. The calls reflect what’s happening in the community.

“Some are predictable. Some are not,” he said.

It was quiet in Edmonds too, until two DUI arrests later in the night, department spokesman Sgt. Mark Marsh said.

Before that, the biggest action of the night was a house alarm set off by a dog, he said.

Rikki King: 425-339-3449; rking@heraldnet.com.

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