According to the National Emergency Number Association, there are 240 million calls made out to 911 per year, but how many of those calls are accidental?
An official from the Cambria County 911 Center says they already received 7 accidental calls just before noon today and with current work shortages, it makes the job more challenging.
Tina Stimely, the 911 Shift Supervisor from the Cambria County 911 Center says accidental 911 calls happen every day.
“So if I go to the first of January to the end of last month, my cap is maxing out at five thousand 911 calls. 911 hang up calls,”
Some smartphones now have features where it will automatically call 911 if it detects you could be in danger, even if you are not!
“I noticed that whenever, whenever we started getting smart watch capabilities just from my short time here our influx of 911 hang ups doubled,”
“Most often they come from an inactive cellphone and its basically mom and dad give a kid a cellphone to play with. They think just because there is no service to that phone, they can’t call 911, that’s not the case. If that phone is able to be powered on, it can call 911″.
And whether its an accidental call or not, what many people don’t know or understand is that 911 dispatchers have protocols to follow.
“If it’s a kid, they immediately want to hang up because they go, ‘Uh Oh, Police’. But if its an adult, it’s fifty-fifty. You get some that are very cooperative, they know they have to give you the information if not we’re going to keep calling you. And you have some that, you know, they don’t understand we have a process that we have to do here,”
And with current worker shortages, Stimely says accidental calls tie up valuable resources for true emergencies.
Stimely shares, “Ideally you want the individual to pick up, everything’s fine. We’re going to verify your address, your name and you’re always going to hear the dispatcher say ‘just confirming is there any need for fire, police, or E.M.S, and as long as you say ‘No’ we will let you go”.