OPP caution people about 9-1-1 pocket dials

The OPP is reminding the public about important but simple steps they can take to avoid what is commonly referred to as 9-1-1 pocket dials.

A pocket-dial occurs when a cellular phone stored in an insecure fashion in places such as pockets, handbags and backpacks inadvertently places calls while being tossed about.

OPP Provincial Communications Centres continue to see far too many pocket dials. Those calls unnecessarily tie up the emergency line and can result in delayed response for people who are dealing with real emergencies and who are in need of immediate assistance from police, fire or medical personnel.

To prevent a cellular phone from pocket dialling, police suggest people keep it in a holster that is designed for that specific cellular phone. Those who do not have a holster should make sure to lock the device’s keypad. Since some cellular phones allow 9-1-1 to be dialled even with a locked keypad, police say it is important to read the user manual or to contact the cellular phone service provider to find out what other features are available to prevent pocket dials.

The OPP is also reminding everyone that if a cell phone does accidentally dial 9-1-1, the wrong thing to do is hang up. When operators receive 9-1-1 calls that result in a caller hanging up, they are required to make call-backs to ascertain if the call is legitimate or accidental, while also dispatching an officer to attend to confirm the caller’s safety when locations are identifiable.  It is important to stay on the line and tell the operator what happened.

The OPP is relying on the public to take those steps to avoid pocket dials so 9-1-1 lines can be available to those who need them.