Accidental 9-1-1 calls put burden on dispatchers

Accidental 9-1-1 calls put burden on dispatchers

FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. - 9-1-1 hang-ups or misdials could be delaying first responders when you need them the most. 

"Oh, there's no emergency?" asked a Fresno County Sheriff's Dispatcher. "Ok, is a kid on the phone?"

It's a 9-1-1 call all too common for dispatchers at the sheriff's office.

"It does take time to have to enter that call, cutting off another person who actually has an emergency," said Chris Guerrero, a Fresno County Sheriff's Dispatch Supervisor. 

Guerrero said it not only puts a burden on call-takers, but when you hang up, often times deputies have to travel long distances to look for you. 

"Don't hang up, let the dispatcher know it was a misdial, mistake," said Guerrero.

A sheriff's office spokesman said the agency received 22,683 9-1-1 calls between Jan. 1, 2017 and April 10, 2017, in which 20% were accidental calls, including misdials, pocket dials, and kids playing on the phone.

"The disconnected cell phones, if you're not using a phone, get rid of it, put it away, turn it off," said Guerrero. "Don't give it to your children."

This comes during National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week, a time when dispatchers are supposed to be appreciated for a job that can sometimes seem thankless.

"We're in a basement with no windows, we're the last to know everything, but we're the first contact for the public," Guerrero added.

To prevent pocket dials, you can lock your phone's home screen, carry your phone in a holster, not let kids play with your cell phone, or download apps such as "Call Confirm" which is designated to stop accidental 911 calls from being made.


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