The Fresno County Sheriff’s Office is asking for the public’s help to reduce the ongoing problem of accidental 911 phone calls.
From June 1 to July 19, 2015, the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office dispatch center received 6,014 911 calls. Of those, a total of 5,173 were determined to be accidental 911 calls. These false emergency calls are the result of things like pocket dials, misdialing a phone number and children playing on the phone. Of the 5,173 calls, 3,678 were made in the Fresno County Sheriff’s patrol area. The other 1,495 calls were still addressed, but were meant for other agencies such as Fresno Police, Reedley Police, etc. Our dispatchers ultimately transferred those calls to the appropriate departments.
FSO deputies actually physically responded to 1,960 calls based upon having enough information to pinpoint where the call was coming from. It’s important to note that none of the calls proved to an emergency. Unfortunately, these mistakes puts our entire community in jeopardy. Deputies often travel long distances in order to investigate 911 calls. Their wasted time could have been directed toward a person who may have a real emergency or toward someone with a lower priority call for service who has been waiting for a deputy to arrive. To conclude, 86% of the 911 calls taken by FSO dispatchers in the last seven weeks turned out to be bogus.
There are some precautions folks can take with their cell phones to avoid 911 misdials.
1)Lock your phone’s home screen. If your phone features a 911 override while the home screen is locked, see if you can disable that function.
2)Consider carrying your phone in a holster. This can prevent the inadvertent pressing of a button on the phone. It’s also a good way to to protect your phone’s screen from being damaged.
3)Do not allow children to play with cell phones. Even disconnected cell phones can still dial 911.
4)There are also some different apps available (e.g. Call Confirm) that are designed to stop accidental 911 calls from being made.
5)If you do accidentally call 911, do not hang up on the dispatcher. Instead, inform them that it was an accident.
For more information on avoiding accidental 911 calls, visit www.fresnosheriff.org/avoid-accidental-911-calls.html