Butt dialing into trouble

October 13, 2015


MCT Photo

Kirsten Tucker answers a 9-1-1 call during her afternoon shift on Sept. 9, 2010 in Boynton Beach, Florida. It is required for emergency dispatchers to confirm every single call. They waste hundreds of hours per year on “accidental calls.”

During an emergency, the first thing people are advised to do is to call the emergency hotline: 9-1-1. Over the years, emergency dispatchers have constantly provided support for those in accidents in a multitude of ways, but they are facing a new problem: butt dialing.

The emergency hotline has been created to be easily accessible. However, as a result, people can ‘accidentally’ call the emergency hotline through butt dialing.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) commissioner Michael O’Rielly wrote on the agency’s site,”Dedicated and hard-working public safety officials who answer and respond to Americans in times of need are being inundated by accidental wireless calls to 9-1-1.”

The FCC reported that roughly 70 percent of 9-1-1 calls at New York City’s PSAPs are made by wireless devices, and at least 50 percent are the result of pocket dialing.

Junior Kyuzo Kelly said,”I once accidentally called 9-1-1 when my phone was in my back pocket. I can see how accidental emergency call can happen to many people.”

The pocket-dialing crisis is a time-consuming struggle for emergency dispatchers who do not know if the call is an accident or an emergency.

According to new research done by Google, emergency dispatchers waste an average of one minute and 14 seconds per butt dial, since call dispatchers needed to call back to get a response or leave a voicemail.

Freshman Adam Kossen said, “People should try to prevent themselves from accidentally calling 9-1-1. Pocket dialing may cause a real emergency to go unnoticed or put off.”

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