Oregon first responders report 40% increase in accidental 911 calls

SALEM, Ore. – First responders in Oregon are reporting an increase in accidental 911 calls.

The Oregon Department of Emergency Management said there has been a 40% increase statewide in accidental dialing of 911 over the past year.

“As harmless as 911 hang-up calls may seem, they impact resources,” explained Oregon Department of Emergency Management State 911 Program Manager Frank Kuchta. “Each one of these calls ties up a call taker, who must call the number back to ensure there’s no emergency. If those callbacks are unanswered, an officer must locate the caller and check on their welfare. This ties up emergency responders who are then unavailable for actual emergency calls.”

ODEM offered the following tips to make sure you don’t accidentally call emergency services:

  • If you do misdial, don’t hang up. Stay on the line, let the telecommunicator know it was an accident, and answer the questions they may have.
  • If you do hang up, the telecommunicator will call you back. Answer the call and explain what happened.
  • Deactivated cell phones will still call 911 if the phone turns on. Don’t let kids play with deactivated cell phones unless the battery is removed or dead.
  • Teach kids about 911. It’s not a game when a child is calling 911 repeatedly and hanging up or making false statements to the telecommunicator.
  • Turn off the automatic dialing setting so your phone doesn’t accidentally dial 911.
  • Place your phone on sleep mode when you put it in your pocket.

“Emergency settings can be changed or turned off, depending on the phone,” ODEM said, “For information about emergency features on Android phones, visit https://support.google.com/android/answer/9319337. For information

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