Butt Dial Emergency? Accidental 911 Calls on the Rise

Filed in Gather News Channel by on January 11, 2011 0 Comments

The dreaded cell phone butt dial is a common side effect of our technologically advanced world. Not to be confused with a “booty call,” butt dialing occurs when your bottom calls someone by accident, usually when your cell phone is in your pocket.

Unfortunately, butt or pocket dialing has gone from annoyance to public nuisance. According to a report in the Toronto Star, “300 emergency calls a day…are placed by people’s butts,” in that Canadian city alone.

After it was discovered that emergency calls had increased in 2010 by over 100,000, the Toronto areaÂ’s 911 coordinator began investigating the occurrences. According to the coordinatorÂ’s research, 10% of the cityÂ’s calls were of the butt or pocket dial variety.

What is the cost of this technological epidemic?

The same Toronto Star report reveals that such accidental emergency calls take up valuable time, as dispatchers have to determine whether or not the call is a true emergency. Simply ignoring the calls can be dangerous. There is always the chance that a muffled call is from someone truly in need of help.

Unfortunately, sending police and other emergency responders to a scene where there is no need is a waste of resources that are needed elsewhere.

Butt dialing gone very, very wrong…

An extreme example of such wasted resources took place in Winnetka, Illinois last week. The Chicago Tribune reported a school teacher accidentally butt dialed his wife when he was on the way home from work. The wife was confused, hearing “gangster-like” comments coming from music playing in the background, and called the police in a panic.

SWAT teams ended up being called out to his school, believing there to be a hostage situation. The SWAT team surrounded the school and carried out a three hour sweep. Of course, they didnÂ’t find any armed gunmen or other public safety risk on the campus. The sweep ended up being called off once police determined that the man had made it home.

Fortunately, the man and his wife will not be charged for the incident. Sadly, the town of Winnetka is going to have to eat the cost of all the SWAT excitement created by a butt dial gone wrong.

What can be done to prevent dialing the phone with your butt?

The Winnetka example is certainly extreme, but it is nothing to scoff at. Such accidental dialing incidents should be prevented. Simple steps you can take to prevent pocket dialing include locking your cell phoneÂ’s keys when not in use, keeping your phone where is cannot be dialed by accident, and not programming 911 into your phone.

To prevent a Winnetka-style SWAT incident from going down, be sure to alert your significant other to any unexpected preferences for gangsta rap.

Butt dialing gets personal…

With accidental cell phone dialing becoming widespread, itÂ’s likely it has happened to you. Have you pocket dialed the police by accident? Were they are forgiving as the Winnetka police? Share your story below.

About the Author ()

Leave a Reply