Cell Phone Usage

Have you ever placed your cell phone in a bag, on your belt, in a pocket, or even just on the seat next to you or on a counter? By failing to lock the keypad or turning off certain features you are taking the chance that your cell phone will needlessly dial 9-1-1.

Speed Dial

Most cell phone manufacturers build a 9-1-1 speed dial into their phone. This speed dial feature could possibly be useful, but it can also be detrimental to public safety agencies when it is misused. When that button is accidentally pushed, dispatchers often need to put a legitimate request for service on hold to answer that 9-1-1 call when there is no one on the line.

Dangers of Misdials

Cell-phone misdials aren't just a nuisance, they can be very dangerous. At the Pitkin County Regional Emergency Dispatch Center (PCREDC) we frequently take emergency calls for service. These can range from a fight in progress or a prowler to reckless drivers or providing C.P.R. instructions over the phone. It is necessary to minimize the amount of time these calls are on hold so that we can assist the caller as much as possible. When a 9-1-1 call rings, dispatchers must put any other calls on hold in order to answer it. If it is a cell-phone misdial, it needs to be logged into the computer system and an attempt to call the cell phone back must be made to ensure there is no emergency. Meanwhile, all other calls will be sitting on hold. Please take measures to avoid misdialling.

Preventing Misdials

There are a few simple ways to keep misdials from happening:
  • Turn your keypad off between uses. This does not mean your phone is turned off. It is just that the keypad cannot accidentally be activated. which will prevent a 9-1-1 misdial. Consult your owner's manual for instructions.
  • Turning off the auto-dial feature on your phone for the emergency contact will ensure your cell phone doesn't dial 9-1-1 when the cell is accidentally bumped.   Again, consult your owner's manual.
  • As many phones automatically redial the last number dialed when the send key is pressed, you could accidentially redial 9-1-1 without knowing.
  • Cell-phone misdialing is a growing problem. Simple education and attention to how your cell-phone works can help us better serve you.