911 calls from inactive cell phones cause delays
Reporter: Cory Marshall
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - They're considered old technology. Residents of the junk drawer. But those old, seemingly irrelevant cell phones are often handed down to little ones, as a toy.
What you may not know is an unactivated cell phone, when charged, is capable of making emergency calls to 911 -- whether or not it's an emergency.
Chris Hove is a shift supervisor for Tucson Fire Department Communications.
"I think the frustrating part is when you get a lot of those in one day or in one period of time and you know that there are real emergencies that are going; not unanswered, but taking a little bit longer to be answered," Hove told 9OYS.
Meaning, the so-called inactive 911 calls can potentially halt emergency responders from tending to real emergencies.
Dispatchers from Tucson's Price Call Center say 911 calls from inactive phones come into the center on an hourly basis. A majority of those calls are not valid.
Tucson Police Sgt. Chris Widmer says for TPD, the calls are also cause for concern.
"Until we're sure that it's not an actual emergency, we can't hang up the phone," Widmer said.
Hove hopes parents will take note and take the battery out of their old phones.