THUNDER BAY – Crimebeat – The solution is as simple as locking your smartphone keypad. The problem is many people are accidentaly calling 9-1-1 when their cell phone dials out when bumped in their pocket or purse. The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) are reminding the public about important but simple steps they can take to avoid what is commonly referred to as “9-1-1 pocket dials”. A pocket-dial occurs when a cellular phone stored in an insecure fashion in places such as pockets, handbags and backpacks inadvertently place calls while being tossed about.
OPP Provincial Communications Centres (PCC) continue to see far too many pocket dials. These calls unnecessarily tie up 9-1-1 lines and can result in delayed response for people who are dealing with real emergencies and need immediate assistance from police, fire or medical personnel.
To prevent a cellular phone from pocket dialling, keep it in a holster that is designed for that specific cellular phone. If you don’t have a holster, make sure to lock your device’s keypad. Since some cellular phones allow 9-1-1 to be dialled even with a locked keypad, it is important to read your user manual or contact your cellular phone service provider to find out what other features are available to prevent pocket dials.
The OPP is also reminding the public that if a cell phone does accidentally dial 9-1-1, the wrong thing to do is hang up. When PCC operators receive 9-1-1 calls that result in the caller hanging up, they are required to make call-backs to ascertain whether the call is legitimate or accidental while also dispatching an officer to attend to confirm the caller’s safety when locations are identifiable. It is therefore important to stay on the line and tell the PCC operator what happened.
The OPP is relying on the public to take these important steps to avoid pocket dials so that 9-1-1 lines can be available to those who need them.