If you accidentally call 911, this is why you should stay on the line

DOWNTOWN CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - On a visit to CCOMS, Cuyahoga County's 911 base, you hear it repeatedly from dispatchers: "911 is disconnecting, no indicated emergency" or "911
disconnect, disconnect the number."

They are accidental calls, butt dials.

A display screen shows all the mistaken calls in just one day. On Tuesday there were 214 unintentional calls.

CCOMS Supervisor Jacqui Costa says there is another, more preventable source of erroneous calls.

"The kids, you know, they're pushing buttons and they don't realize they're calling somebody and they end up calling 911," she said.

Children do seem to have a fascination with cell phones and love to mimic their parents. It is what parents don't know that allows CCOMS to be flooded with unintentional calls. Up to 10 percent of total volume, according to Costa.

"When you have a phone that is disconnected, meaning it no longer has wireless service to it," she said. "As long as it has a charged battery it will call 911."

Another source of calls here are people dialing 911 by accident. A person's natural instinct may be to quickly end the call. Officials say not to do that, but rather stay on the line and tell them it was an accidental call.

If you don't stay on the line, two things can happen -- either there is no one to call back, or an address will show up and they'll notify your local police to check for trouble in the area.

Costa says there is a simple solution.

"Take the battery out if you're going to allow your child to play with the phone -- just take the battery out. As long as you take the battery out they can push buttons all day and they're not gonna call anybody," she said.

If the battery can't be removed, allow the phone to run out of charge before it becomes a toy.

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