UPDATE: “Pocket Dials” Continue To Tie Up Resources

Huronia West OPP report 79 false "911" calls during the long weekend

It was an accident, dialing 9-1-1.

But it continues to happen, especially for the Huronia West Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police.

Following nearly 400 unintentional calls last month in the Bracebridge area alone, OPP reports 273 calls for service, including 79 false “911” calls between 6:00 p.m. Friday August 2nd and 11:59 p.m. Sunday August 4th.

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. Furthermore, police must follow up with each 9-1-1 call by making contact with the caller.

If you place an unintentional 9-1-1 call, stay on the line to let the emergency operator know it was a pocket dial/unintentional call. Every 9-1-1 call is taken seriously. When a 9-1-1 caller doesn’t respond, that could be a sign of trouble – a possibility an emergency responder can’t ignore.

WHAT YOU CAN DO

You can prevent pocket dials or unintentional 9-1-1 calls by:

  • 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.
  • Refraining from programming a wireless device to automatically or “speed dial” 9-1-1.