9-1-1 for emergencies only: life-threatening situations, crimes in progress, fire

KEMPTVILLE — On the receiving end of 28 non-emergency 9-1-1 calls last month, Grenville County OPP are emphasizing the three-digit number is only to be used in life-threatening situations.

Although 9-1-1 service has been in place for at least a quarter century, the detachment reminded residents today the number isn’t meant for reporting stolen bikes and vehicle break-ins, or making noise complaints.

Call 9-1-1 only in life-threatening situations, to stop a crime in progress or to report a fire. Call the non-emergency OPP number for all other issues.

Grenville County OPP also say they continued to experience a high volume of “pocket-dial” calls to 9-1-1 last month. Such calls “place place a further strain on police resources, as the OPP Communication Centre has to find the location of the caller and then send an officer to that location and verify there is no emergency. These calls can interfere with police response to a real emergency.”

To avoid pocket dialling, the detachment advises:

• Carry your cell phone in a holster;
• Ensure the keypad is locked;
• Don’t pre-program 9-1-1 into your auto-dialler;
• Read your user’s manual and contact your cell phone provider to find out what options are available to “pocket dial proof” your phone.

If you are aware that you have dialed 9-1-1 accidentally:

• Don’t hang up! Remain on the line and tell the communicator you dialled in error;
• Your call is likely to be put through to police — answer all questions asked by the communicator;
• An officer may need to contact you to confirm that everything is fine and there is no emergency. They want to know that someone isn’t forcing you to say “everything is fine”, when you really do need help.

If you did not realize that you pocket-dialled 9-1-1:

• Your call will be automatically transferred to police when there is no voice contact (because the phone is in your pocket or purse);
• Every police agency handles these calls differently. OPP communicators will try to call you back. If you answer, the same information as above applies;
• If you do not answer after repeated attempts, your location, based on your GPS coordinates, if available, will be provided to an officer.

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