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Accidental 9-1-1 calls

9-1-1 Needs YOU to prevent accidental 9-1-1 Calls!

9-1-1 receives over 300 accidental calls every day. This is a huge problem that ties up resources and may prevent people with real emergencies from reaching 9-1-1. So 9-1-1 Needs YOU to help prevent accidental 9-1-1 calls.

Prevent Accidental 9-1-1 Calls

The majority of accidental calls to 9-1-1 come from cell phones –so called "pocket dials." 9-1-1 needs you to safely store and carry your cell phone. A cell phone in your purse, pocket or backpack can call 9-1-1 sometimes EVEN if the keypad is locked. Blackberries should be put into "standby" or carried in a holster to prevent accidental 9-1-1 calls. Removing the batteries from old cell phones will prevent accidental 9-1-1 calls. We also get a lot of 9-1-1 calls as a result of children playing with the phone. Please don't allow children to play with your phones. Please talk to your cell phone service provider and find out how to safely carry your cell phone to prevent accidental 9-1-1 calls.

Every single 9-1-1 call that comes in to PSC is answered and attended to, including the over 300 accidental and hang-up we receive every day. Emergency Communications Officers always call back every hang-up call to see if emergency services are needed. If there is no answer and the call was made from a cell phone, a message is left advising that your cell phone dialled 9-1-1. If the accidental call came from a home phone, the police will be dispatched to check on the welfare of the occupants of the house.

Accidental 9-1-1 calls cost the City of Calgary a significant amount of money and resources every year. They also tie up emergency services and phone lines. When we're dealing with an accidental call, someone with a real emergency may not be able to reach us.

How can you help?

Did you know your pocket can dial 9-1-1, and a toddler can too?

The majority of accidental calls to 9-1-1 come from cell phones –so called "pocket dials." 9-1-1 needs you to safely store and carry your cell phone. A cell phone in your purse, pocket or backpack can call 9-1-1 sometimes EVEN if the keypad is locked. Some phones have a feature to prevent this, but others, such as Blackberries, have an "Emergency Call" function that can dial 9-1-1 even if the keypad is locked. These phones should be put into "standby" or carried in a holster to prevent accidental 9-1-1 calls. Please talk to your cell phone service provider and find out how to safely carry your phone to prevent accidental 9-1-1 calls and view our safety tips for phones.

An inactive cell phone can dial 9-1-1, even if you don't have a plan or 'pay as you go' minutes. Calls from unsubscribed cell phones are the second most common type of accidental calls we receive. Removing the batteries from old cell phones will prevent accidental 9-1-1 calls.

We also get a lot of 9-1-1 calls as a result of children playing with the phone. Please don't allow children to play with your phones.

Accidental 9-1-1 calls can also happen when 9-1-1 is pre-programmed into a phone. Please do not pre-program 9-1-1 into any phone. 9-1-1 is an easy and well known emergency number. In an emergency, dialling 9-1-1 is faster than remembering which speed dial code you programmed.

Children who learn about 9-1-1 is school are sometimes tempted to "test" 9-1-1. Please teach your children to call 9-1-1 in an emergency and never place a test call to 9-1-1.

What if I accidentally call 9-1-1?

If you accidently dial 9-1-1, from your home or cell phone stay on the line and tell the Emergency Communications Officer what happened. If you hang up, we have to call you back and that could tie up a line for someone who really needs it. Hanging up is a real hang up for 9-1-1.

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9-1-1 Needs You