When people call 9-1-1, they have an emergency. They expect an immediate response. That immediate response is being endangered by pocket-dialling, where unintentional 9-1-1 calls are made while a cell phone is in a pocket, purse, or knapsack or when you dial 9-1-1 in error.
It's a serious problem. In 2011, approximately 18% of all 9-1-1 calls in Toronto were pocket-dials and misdials. Every pocket-dialled call must be taken seriously by a highly trained emergency communications operator, until it can be proved the call was not an emergency. That can take several minutes. Every time that happens, there can be a delay in answering a 9-1-1 call from someone with a genuine emergency.
Released March 9th, 2012
If you have misdialled 9-1-1, stay on phone and speak to the emergency operator, letting them know you do not need assistance. When a 9-1-1 caller does not respond or hangs up, it could be a sign of trouble - a possibility an emergency operator can't ignore.
You can reduce unnecessary pressure on the 9-1-1 emergency service by:
Locking the keypad on your cell phone
Putting your device in standby mode
Not programming 9-1-1 into your phone
Not allowing children to play with cell phones
Stay on the line and speak to an operator if you misdial 9-1-1
Each device is different. Learn how to prevent calls that endanger the immediate response of the emergency services.
Over 2,000,000 calls in total, both 9-1-1 and non-emergency 416-808-2222 calls, were placed to the Communications Services call centre in Toronto in 2011. That is a 7% increase in call volume since 2010. Of the over two million calls made, 1,227,000 were placed to 9-1-1 directly.
Last year, in Toronto, 107,000 pocket-dials were made and 116,000 calls to 9-1-1 were misdials. That is over 18% of the overall 9-1-1 call volume.