Ever get a call from a loved one or good friend, and when you answer there is no one on the other end? You can hear them giggling or chatting away… but its not to you! I’ve heard friends singing at full volume… out of tune… to the radio unaware that I can hear them also. You too then have been a victim of a “Pocket Dial.”
This recent phenomena, which may cause a little embarrassment to the caller and a little frustration or entertainment to the call receiver, has also become a problem when that number dialed is 9-1-1. I am sure like me, you have seen people store cell phones on their bodies everywhere. Anywhere from pockets, and socks to even bras. Yes people have become resourceful in how they keep this modern day life line with them at all times.
Or how many of you have given your old phone to your child to play with? Did you know, that as long as that old phone has a battery charge, it can still call 9-1-1? If you do decide to let your child have your old phone, take out the battery.
These accidental calls now make up about Twenty Percent of all calls to CRESA 911. That may not seem like a lot, but when you factor in that by state law CRESA 911 needs to call you back, to verify there actually is not an emergency it starts to really add up!! In 2015, CRESA received over 408,000 911 calls. 62, 047 of those calls were accidental or incomplete that required a dispatcher to call the caller back to verify there was not an emergency! Around 1800 of those accidental calls ended in 911 dispatch sending law enforcement to check on the caller. Just think of the time involved in OVER 62,000 calls answered, and then having to be called back.
Video from King County 911
What Can You do to be Part of the Solution?
- Use your cellphone’s key lock to help prevent accidental calls
- Protect your cellphone by locking and storing it carefully
- Don’t allow children to play with your phones
- Programming 9-1-1 into your phone may cause accidental calls. Instead, teach children how to dial 9-1-1.
What Can You do if You Accidentally call 9-1-1?
Stay on the line, and tell dispatchers that it was an accident. Be prepared to answer any questions they may have. Staying on the line helps ensure that you are OK. It also helps save time by not having to call you back or the sending of a law enforcement officer to verify you are alright.