Pocket Dials / Unintentional 911 Calls Putting Public at Risk

Pocket Dials / Unintentional 911 Calls Putting Public at Risk

Peel – Police services across Ontario are seeing an increase in pocket dials and unintentional 9-1-1 calls, which represent a serious threat to public safety and negatively impact police resources, according to the Ontario 9-1-1 Advisory Board (OAB) and the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police (OACP).

Pocket dials happen when a keypad on a mobile device carried in a pocket, purse, backpack, etc. is accidentally pressed. Unintentional 9-1-1 calls are generated from a mobile device and are not intended as emergency calls.

Unintentional 9-1-1 calls tie up phone lines that deliver 9-1-1 calls to Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs), which handle the calls. This negatively impacts a PSAPs’ ability to respond to real emergencies.

Peel Regional Police received 80,724 unintentional 9-1-1 calls from wireless devices between June 1st 2011 and December 31st 2011, accounting for 33% of the 9-1-1 calls received.

For every unintentional/pocket 9-1-1 call received, a 9-1-1 emergency telecommunicator must determine whether an emergency exists. Every second counts when someone is waiting for an emergency communicator to pick up a 9-1-1 call and dispatch police, emergency medical services, or fire.

Someone who places an unintentional 9-1-1 call should stay on the line. Every 9−1−1 call is taken seriously. When a 9−1−1 caller doesn’t respond, that could be a sign of trouble – a possibility an emergency responders can’t ignore. Users are urged to let the emergency operator know it was a pocket dial/unintentional call. This will eliminate the need for the emergency operator to call back to determine if there is a legitimate emergency, saving precious seconds and allowing them to move on to the next emergency call.

Peel Regional Police are taking a proactive role by contacting those persons responsible for unintentional 911 calls, with the intention of educating them on the potential risk to public safety that these calls can pose.

Following up on the province’s efforts to minimize inappropriate 911 calls, Peel Regional Police has created, and is releasing to the public, 5 educational and Public Service Announcement videos ( in several languages ) to reinforce our message. Members of the public are encouraged to watch the videos via the following link [ 911 Videos ]. Click on the “ Community Partners “ section and access each video on the right hand side of that page.


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