CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wis. (WEAU) Accidentally dialing 911 has become a problem throughout the area.
“So far this year, we've been dispatched to almost 100 9-1-1 hang-ups and misdials,” Chippewa Falls Police Officer Joe Nelson said.
“It takes a lot of resources for the officers and the dispatchers to respond to those calls. Ten, 15 minutes per call, and 100 calls in just five, six months, adds up to a lot of time and resources.”
Officer Nelson said dispatchers are called when kids are playing with parents' phones, or even pocket dials from smart phones without screen locks.
“A lot of parents let their kids play games and apps on their phones and end up dialing 911 on accident. Or we also see a lot of businesses that have to dial 9, to get out of their business, and they end up dialing 911, and then they hang up right away, so then we have to respond.
“We can never distinguish whether it's an actual hang-up call or if somebody is in distress and they can't say anything.”
He said one misdial lead to a response, and a ticket for drug possession. Eau Claire County said it gets at least one misdial per day and Rusk County had 45 through Apr. of this year.
But he said there are things people can do to avoid making a mistake.
“If you have older phones, just remove the batteries and destroy them, per the manufacturer's recommendations.” “Don't let kids play with them because they do call 911 from these phones, as well as just basically paying attention to what you're doing and if you do call 911, understand that we are going to respond, so that's something to keep in mind as well.”
Dispatchers also said that if you do dial 911 by accident to tell them it was a mistake and don't hang up right away.