While there is an odd occasion where an accidental dial or misuse of 911 has turned out okay; most often it is a dangerous waste of police resources. In Wellington County it has been particularly problematic this year as local OPP have had to respond to nearly 2,000 accidental 911 calls this year. And considering that Wellington County OPP has had a total of 7,417 high-priority calls so far this year, that means about 26 per cent of those calls were unnecessary.
That is why the service is asking people to be more careful with their cell phones and dialing habits, because OPP said each accidental call, where a dispatcher can’t determine what’s wrong or speak to someone, requires a cruiser and two officers to resolve it. That is a lot of resources being wasted to educate people about their cell phones.
There are a lot of reasons people accidentally dial 911; letting a child use their phone, playing their phone in a cup holder or their pocket, or even while watching videos in bed. OPP are asking everyone to become familiar with the emergency call features on their phone, keep them out of the hands of children, have caution while dialing international numbers (hitting 9 and then 1), and consider turning off automatic features that call 911. It’s also important to remember that old phones, even ones that are inactive, can still dial 911 if they have battery.
All good preventative measures, but what about if you do accidentally dial 911? OPP remind you to NOT hang up, they ask that you stay on the line and let an operator know it was an accident.