9-1-1 is in the business of saving lives, but we need your help. The City receives over 400,000 9-1-1 calls every year - that's over 1000 calls to 9-1-1 every day. Unfortunately, many of these - up to 30 per cent or over 300 every day - are accidental calls where the caller didn't mean to call 9-1-1 and doesn't have an emergency.
But even if they didn't mean to call and they hang up or even if their cell phone called without them knowing, we have to check and make sure every time someone calls 9-1-1 that it was an accident and they don't need emergency services. That means we have to call each of those numbers back. That's a lot of work! It could also tie up the line if someone with a real emergency is trying to calls us.
You can help prevent accidental calls to 9-1-1. We get a lot of 9-1-1 calls as a result of children playing with the phone. It may seem harmless, but these calls to 9-1-1 are a real problem. Please don't allow children to play with your phones.
An inactive cell phone can dial 9-1-1, even if you don't have a plan or 'pay as you go' minutes. If you give inactive cell phones to your kids as toys, please remove the batteries first. Removing the batteries from old cell phones will prevent accidental 9-1-1 calls.
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 lock 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.
If you accidentally 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 takes more time and ties up more resources.
Staying on the line is the best thing to do in case of an accidental call. Hanging up is a real hang up for 9-1-1.
9-1-1 needs you to help make sure that everyone who needs emergency help can get it.
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