Toronto Police Service asking for Help to Prevent Accidental Calls to 9-1-1

Patrick D Costa

After experiencing a dramatic surge in accidental calls to 9-1-1 in the last month, the Toronto Police Service is asking members of the public to help prevent accidental 9-1-1 calls.

The Toronto Police Service is requesting the general public’s assistance in preventing accidental 9-1-1 calls following a significant increase in the number of such calls over the course of the past month.

However, if you call 9-1-1 in error, please remain on the line.

Communication Services Acting Manager Tamara Nalon stated, “Please stay on the phone and advise us that it is a mistake if you call 9-1-1 by mistake.” Otherwise, we will contact you by phone or text to ensure your safety, which may take some time.

When it takes operators at least 90 seconds to call back each person, that time could be better spent responding to emergency 911 calls when every second counts.

She stated that accidental calls to Canada’s busiest and largest call center have always been a problem, but they have become more frequent.

“As a matter of fact, we have a work area put in a position to manage pocket dials and hang-ups,” said Nalon. ” It has really picked up in relation to smartphones running Android operating systems since the beginning of April. We are receiving a significant amount of pocket dials, and individuals are reporting that the phone is calling themselves without them having to touch anything.

During this time, 50% of 9-1-1 calls on one day ended without a response.

According to Nalon, “We average about 5,200 calls daily.” The typical number has recently hovered around 6,500.

For those who hang up, operators of communications are now sending text messages informing them that they can call back in an emergency.

When someone calls 9-1-1 by accident, it is critical that they remain on the line.

Because your first call will remain in the queue and your second call will be further back in the same queue, this is especially critical in an emergency. Please answer the call, and keep in mind that your blocked phone might mistake the call for spam.

She stated that there are a number of steps people can take to avoid calling 9-1-1 by accident.

How to prevent accidental 9-1-1 calls:

  • Review the settings on your mobile phone to choose your emergency alert settings and to lock it appropriately, based on your needs. (Note: review these periodically as your device settings may reset after a manufacturer’s update). To update your emergency settings:
    • iPhone: click on “Settings” and “Emergency SOS”
    • Android: click on “Settings” and “Safety and emergency”
  • Store your phone properly so it is not bouncing around in your purse or in your pocket to be sat on. If the side button is pressed five times, it could initiate a 9-1-1 call.
  • Do not let children play with active or old phones. Even if your old phone is unregistered with no SIM card or cellphone plan, it can still call 9-1-1.
  • Do not program 9-1-1 into your phone.
  • Do not call 9-1-1 to see if it is working.

What to do if you call 911 by mistake:

  • Stay on the line. When you call 911, the call is tracked in the queue, even if you hang up. Please stay on the line to inform the operator that you are safe. This is particularly important if there is an emergency, as your first call stays in queue and your second call will be further back in the queue.
  • If you do hang up, an operator the will text or call you to make sure you are safe. Please answer the call, and note that your phone may identify the call as spam because the phone number is blocked.

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