Many hang-up 911 calls are made by children playing on the phone. This is especially true with old deactivated cell phones. By law even deactivate cell phones are still able to dial 911. Each time this happens, a 911 dispatcher will try to immediately call the phone back to determine whether or not there is an emergency. If there is no answer on callback, police are dispatched. If there is an answer on callback, the dispatcher will attempt to speak to an adult to insure all is well. We are unable to call back deactivated cell phones back to verify if there is an emergency or not. If you wish to give your child an old cell phone to play with we ask you to remove the batteries so they don't accidentally call 911 and for their own safety.
We ask adults to not punish children who call 911 and hang up, but rather explain to them 911 should only be used in an emergency. If children are punished for accidentally calling 911, it may scare them from ever using it in the future, whether they have a legitimate emergency or not.
Our Community Involvement Team is able to give presentations to groups of children and demonstrate 911 using our simulator. Children can practice calling 911 in a learning environment, both using a home telephone and a coin telephone. They will see a real dispatcher answer their call for help. They also learn what information will be asked of them and why. We explain kids save lives, too. This program has been very successful in day care centers and elementary schools. The simulator is mainly for children, but we do have a program geared for adults as well. We have found elderly adults enjoy learning how the 911 system works as well.
To arrange a demonstration for your group, please contact the E-911 Center at 540-853-5827.