Pocket dials affecting 911 call centers - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Pocket dials affecting 911 call centers

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QUINCY, Ill. (WGEM) - The 911 call centers receive numerous calls each days, but some of those calls are dialed in your pocket.

The Quincy/Adams County 911 center receives these accidental calls on a daily basis according to Director Steve Rowlands. Rowlands says the dispatcher really has to be sure there is no danger as these calls are similar to other emergency calls.

"Many domestic violence calls start out as a hang up 911 call or we call them back and they say nothing is wrong," Rowlands said. "So the 911 dispatcher listens to what is going on in the background and goes from there. You know, if we need to we are going to send someone to check where that call came from to make sure everything is OK."

Rowland says the biggest concern for these calls is if the person is unable to speak or is in danger if they do speak. He says it becomes vital that the dispatcher really listens to the other sounds in the call.

Some families give old cell phones to children to play with, but if it still has a charge, that child could be sending out phone calls even without a contract to it.

Rowlands says by law, cell phones that have no service must still be able to call 911. Rowlands says they get numerous calls a year from kids playing with an old cell phone. He says it's a problem the 911 center has a hard time dealing with.

"It's a challenge for us because an un-initialized phone, we can't call it back to talk to the parent to see what's going on," Rowlands said. "We could waste resources to try and locate that call and send an officer, which we have done, to point out we are getting a 911 call from a phone in that location."

Rowland says that this is a safety measured for those with cell phones, but he says that most people are unaware or do not realize that the phones can still call 911.

Rowlands recommends just make sure to take the battery out before giving it to a child to play with or, if it is an internal battery, make sure the battery is dead. This way it just prevents the child from accidentally calling 911.

Rowland says that the area they cover is too wide to send out an officer with every accidental call they get. But, if there is any indication something may really be wrong they will send someone to check it out
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