TWIN CITIES - The Rosemount, Minnesota Police Department would like to remind people if your phone accidentally calls 9-1-1, DON'T HANG UP! When you call 9-1-1 and hang up before you can speak with a Dispatcher, the Dispatchers are required to call you back to verify you are okay and that there are no emergencies. If they aren't able to confirm either of these, the Dispatcher will have to send out either a police officer or another emergency responder to verify you are okay and that there are no emergencies. When this occurs, it can tie up valuable time for both 9-1-1 Dispatchers and emergency personnel, so remain on the phone so you can confirm with them it was an accident.
Dispatchers understand accidents happen, you won't be in trouble if your phone accidentally dials 9-1-1. Similar stories, such as this one, are popping up all across the country as well. According to the Rosemount Police Department, Dakota County has seen over 20,000 hang-ups/misdials so far this year alone.
Emergency SOS - How to prevent this from happening
Whether you own an iPhone or an Android phone, there is a feature built into cellphones now called Emergency SOS, which is the often culprit for these false alarm 9-1-1 calls. While the idea behind the feature was great on paper, how easily this feature can be used in reality has resulted in hundreds and thousands of false alarm calls that have been flooding 9-1-1 call centers the last few years and taking up valuable time for both the Dispatchers and emergency personnel.
To engage this feature on both iPhone and Android phones when it is enabled, all someone needs to do is click or press the power button five times. When this occurs, a short countdown is initiated followed by a loud alarm. After the alarm, your phone will automatically call 9-1-1. To turn off this shortcut feature, for both Android and iPhone, go to your phone's settings and disable "Auto Call" for iPhone and "Call emergency services" for Android. While this will prevent the automatic calls from occurring by simply pressing your power button too many times, there are still additional shortcuts that will allow a user to still have the Emergency SOS feature available to them, it just adds some additional steps to make it a little less likely for the call to occur automatically. For example, if you own an Android, holding your power button will result in a screen popping up (even when the phone is locked) that will give you three options: Turn off your phone, Restart your phone or Emergency SOS. On the iPhone, you need to hold the volume up button and Side button together for the Emergency SOS option to appear.
We hope this was both educational and helpful for you in navigating accidental 9-1-1 misdials. We also hope spreading the word on what to do when something like this occurs will help both emergency personnel and Dispatchers in the future!