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Accidentally call 911? Stay on the line

A bird invasion is not necessarily a police matter
08-08-18 Communications Bureau SSP
Photo provided

Bradford/Innisfil - South Simcoe Police Service is reminding the public about the proper use of 911 following a rash of pocket dials and inappropriate calls.

In one recent case, a citizen dialled 911 to report there was a bird flying around the bedroom and wanted help to catch it. Officers told the victim of this avian invasion that it was absolutely not a police matter and issued a stern caution about the proper use of 911.

In the last four days, we have experienced about a dozen 911 pocket dials and unintentional calls to our Communications Centre.

The calls included:

  • a man trying to call a money-transfer company
  • a call from a 4-year-old who was recently taught about 911 and 'wanted to try it out'
  • pocket dials from people on a motorcycle and a golf cart
  • a man who said his phone is blacked out and keeps dialling into emergency mode

In 2017, communication staff answered 5,611 calls to 911. 419 of those calls were misdials. Even if you accidentally call 911, stay on the line and let the communicator know what happened. When an unintentional 911 caller hangs up, that could be considered an 'unknown trouble' call and police will respond, taking away valuable time and resources from someone who really needs help.

While we don't want to discourage people from dialling the emergency phone number, we want to remind you that it is for emergencies only such as a crime in progress, a fire or a medical emergency. We are urging the public to 'lock it before you pocket it' and don't let children play with mobile phones.

For non-emergencies, please call 705-436-2141 or 905-775-3311.

*Footnote to the bird call: On compassionate grounds, officers entered the home to investigate only to find the suspect bird had flown the coop, or in this case, the bedroom. The caller had followed the advice of the 911 Communicator to leave the window open. Case closed. 

On Tuesday, August 7, 2018 South Simcoe Police Service responded to 77 calls for service.