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Three in ten 911 calls are pocket dials

Posted at 10:02 AM, Apr 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-15 21:26:24-04
Emergency dispatchers say pocket dials are taking up nearly one third of their time during the day. They estimate that three in ten calls every day are accidental pocket dial calls.
 
Every time someone doesn't answer, it's the dispatcher's job to call the number back or alert police to make sure nothing is actually wrong.
 
"We have a process that we have to follow to ensure that there's no one on the other side of the line that's needing help, so it ties up and saturates the system," said Jaime Contreras II, who is a dispatcher here in Tucson.
 
Contreras says it usually takes three times the length of a regular call to handle these pocket dials, which makes the wait longer for those who do need help.
 
The dispatchers say a lot of times old phones pocket dial 911 because they don't have a lock screen. They also get a lot of calls from people with touch screens who forget to lock their screen. 
 
"I'd rather have someone to be able to answer the phone and say it was an accident rather than us trying to play a cat and mouse game to see if there's a problem or not," said Contreras.
 
Dispatchers ask anyone who accidentally calls 911, if they realize they are calling, to stay on the line to make sure they tell the dispatcher nothing is actually wrong.
 
This week is Emergency Dispatchers Appreciation week, so be sure to thank those that are helping the community!