In a concerning trend, the LaSalle Police Service has responded to 113 accidental 911 calls since August 1st of this year. This surge in unintentional emergency calls is prompting police services across Ontario to make the public aware of this issue.
Imagine the moment when your pocket starts buzzing, and you check your phone, only to realize it’s inadvertently calling 911. Panic sets in, and your instinct is to hang up, a perfectly natural reaction. However, we kindly urge you not to hang up. Instead, please stay on the line and explain what happened. Rest assured, you are not in trouble.
When you hang up, it compels our communicators to invest valuable time gathering the necessary information or attempting to call you back. In either case, this results in dispatching an officer to check on your well-being. The LaSalle Police Service is committed to responding to every 911 call promptly, whether it’s a legitimate emergency or an accidental dial, to ensure your safety.
It’s noteworthy that the majority of these unintended 911 calls originate from mobile phones, often due to changes or updates in operating systems with emergency features. Many devices trigger the Emergency SOS feature through simple actions, like pressing the power button multiple times or simply holding it down. When it’s in your pocket (hence the term pocket dial), or in the hands of a toddler, these buttons are easily pressed. Fortunately, this feature can be deactivated in your phone’s settings. On certain models, merely locking your screen when not in use may help prevent these accidental calls.
This issue of accidental 911 hang-ups isn’t unique to LaSalle but has been widely reported across Canada. We understand that mistakes happen, but we appeal to everyone that by working together it may help minimize these occurrences and ensure that 911 lines remain available for reporting urgent or life-threatening emergencies that require immediate attention.
Please help us help you by spreading awareness and taking proactive steps to prevent unintentional 911 calls. Your cooperation is vital in ensuring that emergency services are always available when they are truly needed.
Senior Constable Terry Seguin
LaSalle Police Service
519 969-5210 ext 2031