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Prevent accidental 9-1-1 calls

Posted on April 28, 2021 by Taber Times

By Stan Ashbee
Taber Times

According to Cst. Schokohmand with the Taber/Vauxhall RCMP, the majority of the 9-1-1 calls the department receives are misdials, or so called “pocket dials” — no emergency.

“This is a problem across Canada. Accidental 9-1-1 calls can tie up public safety personnel and resources. This can slow down the response to real emergencies.”

All of these pocket dials get answered, the constable said, and for most of them — an emergency responder will physically come to the address to check on the welfare of residents.

“We can easily see how that holds up real emergencies. If an emergency responder has to attend a 9-1-1 misdial in Enchant, and a real emergency occurs in Grassy Lake, the response time could make the difference,” the constable said. “Many of these pocket dials happen from leaving your phone in the cupholder of your vehicle, letting your children play with your phones and simply having your phone in your purse or pocket.”

Prevention methods:

• We can all help to prevent 9-1-1 misdials from re-occurring consistently, just by turning off the 9-1-1 auto dial feature, not every phone has that option, but you can check your phone settings and find out whether you have that option or not. This could help with the pocket dials that happen accidentally when you’re working.

• Do not put your phone in the cupholder of your vehicle, in some cases — especially with iPhones, this will dial 9-1-1.

• Do not let your child play with your phone. Try giving them a different device to play with. Many parents give their child their deactivated phone. These phones can still dial 9-1-1. The deactivated phones are even harder to track down. In some cases, it doesn’t give us an address to attend to and since it’s deactivated, we can’t call back.
“One thing that is very important we ask from residents in the area is if you do accidentally dial 9-1-1, please stay on the line and answer some questions. This information would help us to identify if there is a real emergency or not. If you realize your child has accidentally dialed 9-1-1 with your deactivated phone, then call back and let us know there is no emergency,” the constable pointed out.

Here is a monthly update on the amount of 9-1-1 misdials received from the M.D. of Taber for the past three months:

January 2021:
•Pocket dials: 1
•Kids playing with phone: 4
•Dial error: 12
•Unexplained: 1
•9-1-1 prefix (deactivated phones): 7
•Total misdials: 25

February 2021:
•Pocket dials: 2
•Kids playing with phone: 7
•Dial error: 11
•Unexplained: 7
•9-1-1 prefix (deactivated phones): 10
•Total misdials: 37

March 2021:
•Pocket dials: 1
•Kids playing with phone: 8
•Dial error: 12
•Unexplained: 4
•False 9-1-1: 2
•9-1-1 prefix (deactivated phones): 1
•Total misdials: 28

The Taber RCMP has reported a total of 90 misdials in the past three months. “I am really hoping this report will decrease the numbers of 9-1-1 misdials in the upcoming months. We need to work together and share this information, so we can concentrate on more serious issues in the M.D. of Taber,” noted the constable.

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