No one suffering from an emergency expects to be greeted by a recording when they dial 911. Yet 911 callers in Caddo County, Oklahoma, were unable to reach a human operator for months in 2013. Instead, they were routed to an automated message that instructed callers to “hang up and dial 911″ if their call is an emergency. Someone’s idea of a practical joke? No, and the Federal Communications Commission isn't laughing, either. The FCC issued a proposed fine of $100,000 to the Hinton Telephone Company, saying the company “betrayed its customers.”

According to the FCC: “Hinton allegedly continued to allow 911 calls to be routed to the automated message for three months after the company discovered the problem. The company returned the system to functionality only after being contacted by FCC investigators and directed to do so.”

The FCC wrote in its notice to the company "The company returned the system to functionality only after being contacted by FCC investigators and directed to do so. This is manifestly unacceptable. The betrayal is particularly egregious and dangerous for a rural community like Caddo County, Oklahoma whose resident may be far from help and most in need of reliable and efficient emergency communications."

Hinton can appeal the penalty but so far the commission has not been pleased with the company's arguments. Hinton Telephone Company claims they received no notice from AT&T that they switched from a live operator to an automated operator message.

For more details visit gizmodo.com.

If you live in Caddo County were you affected by this? Did you try calling 911 only to hear "If this is an emergency hang up and dial 911"? If so, what did you do? You may add your comments in the section below.