Emergency service operators in Windsor, Ont., are getting an increasing number of phone calls from people who don't need any emergency help.
In the last four months, the emergency call centre received 30,000 calls, and more than half were dismissed as a non-emergency — that's more than three times the number of unintentional calls the city of Ottawa reported.
Police Sgt. Brett Corey said up to 140 calls a day are accidental.
"Those reasons could be children playing with phones, be it land lines or cell phones, accidentally calling 911, and also it would be the pocket dialing," said Corey.
"One night we were out and I pocket dialed my house and my parents might have heard a few things they shouldn't have," said Windsorite Catherine Dournet.
Toronto's accidental calls:
Toronto Police said Wednesday that they receive 300 'accidental' cell phone calls a day last year.
"It's usually in my jacket pocket and I sit down and it calls her and she hears my entire conversation," said Batoul Berri of her friend Leila Siblani.
"It's usually followed by a text message saying sorry, I butt dialed you!! Ha, ha!" said Siblani.
It seems everyone has a funny story about "butt dialing", but the fact that those calls are tying up 911 call centres is something police aren't laughing about.
"It's a problem and it's tying up our resources," said Corey.
When it happens, it hinders call centre workers who have to determine whether or not to dispatch police, whose time could be better spent on real emergencies, he said.
Every cell phone can dial 911, even without a service provider, said a Windsor Telus retailer on Thursday. So it's best to take out the battery if you're letting your kids play with your phone.
Corey also suggested that people avoid adding 911 to their speed dial, and always 'lock it before you put it in your pocket'.