Pocket dials behind huge number of bogus 911 calls

E-Comm urges cellphone users to take precautions to prevent unintended calls



Pocket dials from cellphones are being blamed for most of the more than 100,000 bogus 911 calls that took up operators’ time last year, diverting resources from real emergencies in the Lower Mainland.

An analysis of call statistics found 10 per cent of more than one million 911 calls received by the E-Comm regional emergency communications centre were dialed by mistake in 2011.

E-Comm estimates more than 70,000 of those calls – or 200 per day – were “pocket dials” in which cellphones in a pocket or purse dialed 911 by mistake. Another 40,000 were abandoned calls where the user hung up.

Growing use of smart phones are behind the increase as they now account for 58 per cent of 911 call volume – an all-time high and up 10 per cent in four years.

E-Comm is asking the public to cut down on pocket calls by using keylocks, storing cell phones in protective cases and not pre-programming 911 into any phone.

If 911 is dialed by mistake, the centre says callers should stay on the line and speak with the call-taker.

When callers hang up, staff will call back to ensure the caller is safe, tying up more resources and in the case of hang-ups from landlines, dispatching police.

Operators who handle the numerous pocket dials must stay on the line and listen for signs that a caller dialed intentionally but is now incapacitated or otherwise in danger.

Call takers say they’ve heard it all, from action at rave parties to intimate moments phone users would never want transmitted.

“I’ve had a lot of calls from Rogers Arena when the Canucks were playing,” says Corey Kelso, E-Comm 911 call-taker. “I’ve heard pucks drop, I’ve heard the announcements, and I’ve actually heard Richard Loney singing the national anthem.”

Just Posted

‘Gone are the days of leaving your vehicle and your house unlocked’

Agassiz RCMP tell residents to secure cars, homes during high crime season

Heat warning issued for Metro Vancouver

Inland areas expect to hit at least 26 degrees for daytime highs

It’s about to get hot: Special weather statement issued for Lower Mainland

Temperatures expected to rise and stick around till next week, Environment Canada forecasts

Highway crashes double in Fraser Valley, truck traffic also up steeply

Unclear if doubling of Fraser Valley highway crashes is linked to spike in truck traffic

France doubles up Croatia 4-2 to win World Cup

Played in Moscow Russia, latest Fifa World Cup marks the highest scoring final since 1966

VIDEO: Harrison Festival 2018 ends on a Sunny Sunday

Despite local union protest bumps, festival runs smoothly on 40th year

5 to start your day

Heat warning issued, man climbs a crane, a dog-sprinting event, and more

Non-union construction industry fears exclusion in B.C.

Premier John Horgan imposes ‘project labour agreements’ for public works

Climber with broken leg rescued after fall into ravine near Hope

The 26-year-old had a flare to show rescuers where he was.

Trump, Putin sit down a bit late for closely watched summit

Trump and Putin arrived Monday at Helsinki’s presidential palace for a long-awaited summit.

In TV interview, Trump claims queen called Brexit ‘complex’

Asked the queen’s view on Brexit, Trump said: “She said it’s a very complex problem.”

Exotic corpse flower begins to emit its putrid scent at Vancouver conservatory

A unique and exotic tropical plant, acclaimed for its size and abhorred for its smell, is blooming at a Vancouver conservatory.

CREA reports June home sales down 10.7% from year ago, but up from May

The Canadian Real Estate Association says home sales in June were down 10.7 per cent compared with a year ago.

Tens of thousands give heroes’ welcome to Croatia team

Euphoria gave way to a mixture of disappointment and pride for Croatia fans after their national team lost to France in its first ever World Cup final.

Most Read