Abandoned 911 calls a waste of time
Aug 29, 2013 / 10:26 am
Although numbers suggest the amount of abandoned 911 calls are on the decline in the Central Okanagan, too much time is still wasted on unnecessary responses.
Between Jan. 1 and July 31 of last year, police received 2974 abandoned 911 calls, each requiring RCMP members to follow up and determine whether or not emergency services were actually required.
There have been 2537 similar calls made during the same time this year, which is a decrease of 15 per cent, but it’s still far too many when it's determined that only about one per cent of dropped 911 calls actually result in necessary police action.
Cellular phone users are the major contributor of abandoned 911 calls with most coming via the pocket dial. That can be prevented by following a few simple rules:
- Lock your phone.
- Keep your phone in a case or holster.
- If you’ve placed a pocket dial call, answer the subsequent follow-up call. The few minutes you take to talk to the dispatcher will prevent police resources from being diverted unnecessarily so they can be allocated where they are truly needed most.
RCMP say the worst offenders are deactivated cell phones, usually given to children to use as a toy. These phones do not have a cellular plan and are no longer registered to anyone, but are still able to dial 911 if the phones battery is charged. The calls show up with a 911 prefix (instead of 250 or 604), have no registered user information, and cannot be called back making it nearly impossible to find the call location.
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