Public Safety

9‐1‐1 Pocket Dials and How You Can Help

The following was provided by San Diego County Sheriff’s Department

It’s a scenario that plays out hundreds of times a day across San Diego County. People are calling 9-1-1 and hanging up. It’s most likely an accident, but it’s taking time away from those who really need help.

It’s happened to all of us. Whether it’s a child playing with a phone, or keeping your finger on the “1” button too long, sitting with the phone in your pocket or people calling about the same car crash then hanging up. If you accidentally dial 9-1-1, don’t hang up.

Every call that comes into the Sheriff’s Communication Center is taken seriously. Under some circumstances, when there’s no one on the other end of the line, dispatchers are required to find the caller to see if there’s actually an emergency. While the dispatcher is trying to make contact with the “hang-up” caller, another person with a true emergency could be put on hold.

You can save dispatchers that wasted time. If you call 9-1-1, even by mistake, stay on the line so dispatchers can verify you don’t need help and they don’t have to track you down.

Parents, even if a cell phone is disconnected from a service provider, it still can connect to 9-1-1 unless the battery is removed.

Making bogus 9-1-1 calls is a crime in California. The penalty is up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. A prank call to draw a SWAT Team response to a hoax victim or “swatting” can have serious consequences. If convicted, you could go to jail for a year and pay a fine of up to $10,000. If someone is hurt or killed as a result of the prank call, the penalty increases to up to three years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Watch a public safety video from the Sheriff’s Department to learn more.