911 pocket dials keep dispatchers in Calgary busy
Responding to 300 accidental calls per day costs emergency centre $1M per year
Dispatchers at Calgary's emergency call centre are urging Calgarians to be more careful with their cellphones.
They receive about 300 pocket-dialed 911 calls every day.
A dispatcher must call every pocket-dialer back. And if the caller can't be reached, police are dispatched to search the area the call came from.
Public safety communications commander Richard Hinse says cell phones make the task even more difficult.
"Cellphones are about co-ordinates. It doesn't give you exactly where the person is, it gives you a general area,” he said.
“So then the patrol car goes out, searches the area. If we can't find you then we actually look for the mailing address, the subscriber information, and try to get to the house to find the person."
Pocket dials cost Calgary taxpayers around $1 million every year, Hinse said.
Dee Manning, a supervisor at the call centre, said pocket dials must be treated as 911 hang-up calls.
“So they may actually take higher priority than something that might be an actual crime in progress,” she said.