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Merritt RCMP are asking residents to be careful about making accidental 9-1-1 calls from cellular phones.
Since Jan. 1, the Merritt RCMP detachment has received 152 abandoned 9-1-1, the majority of which have been from cell phones.
Emergency calls from a land line automatically provide the call centre with an address, but cell phones are not as easy to trace, said Merritt Cst. Tracy Dunsmore.
Active cell phones can be traced to a subscriber, but the RCMP has to phone contact the service provider to obtain an address.
Dunsmore said that RCMP officers must take every 9-1-1 call seriously and respond to ensure that no one is in jeopardy or in need of assistance.
“Even on call back if the responder ensures police that everything is fine, members must still attend to ensure the safety of the caller,” said Dunsmore. “This results in member’s time being taken away from other important issues.”
The RCMP press release warned that cell phones that have been de-activated for whatever reason are still capable of making 9-1-1 calls.
“What police are finding, is that parents are giving their children deactivated phones without realizing this and children are making 9-1-1 calls while playing,” said Dunsmore.
Police suggest removing cell phone batteries before giving de-activated phones to children to play with to avoid this problem.
Other tips for cell phone use are:
• Do not pre-program 9-1-1 into your cell phones as RCMP receive many pocket dials as well.
• Be familiar with your own cell phone’s emergency functions as they often have built in features that can cause issues.
• If someone in your family does call 9-1-1 by accident, do not hang up on the operator who will call back as members will attend at your residence regardless.