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RCMP 9-1-1 dispatch centers see large increase in abandoned 911 calls

By Contributor
May 19th, 2023

BC RCMP is reminding people to check their phones as dispatch centers have experienced a significant increase in dropped 911 calls.

Over the past weeks, RCMP 911 dispatch centers throughout the province have seen an increase in abandoned or dropped emergency calls. These calls are being attributed to the ‘Emergency SOS’ feature on Android smart phones which allows users to quickly initiate a 911 call.

After a 9-1-1 call is made, a police dispatcher must determine the caller is safe and there is not a true emergency. If an accidental call is made from a smart phone, callers should stay on the phone and speak to a dispatcher. They can explain the call was an accident and answer any questions the dispatcher may have.

Most often, users don’t even realize the Emergency SOS has been activated and a call is made to 911, says Supt. Mike Bhatti, Officer in charge of the Operational Communications Centres. These dropped and abandoned calls take time and resources away from actual emergencies. Please only call 911 if you need immediate assistance.

The Emergency SOS feature on Android phones automatically calls 911 after the side button key is pressed five times successively. Android phone users are encouraged to turn off the Emergency SOS feature on their phones and prevent accidental calls to 911.

The Emergency SOS feature can be turned OFF by following these steps:

  • Go to settings of your phone
  • Click on the Safety and Emergency section
  • Slide the toggle to turn the Emergency SOS feature off

911 is for emergencies and should only be called when immediate action is required. Police dispatchers are trained to respond to calls and provide help when and where it’s needed.

BC RCMP reminds everyone to please use 9-1-1 responsibly.

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