Members of the Rainy River District Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) responded to 11 pocket dials and/or unintentional 9-1-1 calls over the Victoria Day long weekend.
Pocket dials happen when a mobile device carried in a pocket, purse, backpack or other piece of clothing accidentally activates the keypad, causing the emergency call.
Many calls still occur when young children are given cell phones and smart phones to play with as toys.
Even old, inactive devices with the SIM card removed can be used to dial 9-1-1.
For every unintentional call or pocket dial received, an emergency communicator must determine whether a real emergency exists and if police, fire or paramedics should be dispatched.
With every unintentional call received, precious seconds may be taken away from someone who really needs help.
They continue to urge the public not to call 9-1-1 unless it's an emergency, and not to let children play with mobile phones or tablets.
There are things that you can do to prevent pocket dials and unintentional 9-1-1 calls:
- Using the keypad lock feature. Keypad locks, some of which can be programmed to activate automatically, prevent a mobile device from responding to keystrokes until the user unlocks the keypad using a short combination of key presses or password;
- Turning off the 9-1-1 auto-dial feature. Check the user manual or the manufacturer's website, or call the service provider to determine whether your device has this feature and how to turn it off; and
- Refraining from programming a wireless device to automatically or “speed dial” 9-1-1
What to do if you accidentally call 9-1-1?
- Stay on the line, hanging up is the wrong thing to do. Tell the communicator you dialled in error;
- Your call will be put through to police - answer all questions asked by the communicator; and
- Officers will be dispatched to ensure you are safe.
If you did not realize that you dialled 9-1-1 (i.e. “pocket dial”):
- Your call will be automatically transferred to police when there is no response (because the phone is in your pocket or purse);
- Every police agency handles these calls differently. OPP communicators will try to call you back. If you answer, the same information as above applies; and
- If you do not answer after repeated attempts, your location, based on your GPS coordinates, if available, will be provided to an officer.
If you would like more information about 9-1-1, please visit our website at www.opp.ca.