Dialing 911 is important in the event of an emergency as it can save lives and allow the emergency services to get to you quickly.
It is always important to dial 911 when there is an emergency or an accident as the right help can arrive at the scene in a short time to support and help those who have been involved.
Having the option to dial 911 is lifesaving and needs to be respected, as fake calls are incredibly time-wasting when the call handler could be speaking to someone with a real emergency.
However, what happens if you accidentally call 911? What should you do and how should you react?
This article will take you through what you should do if you accidentally call 911.
Follow these steps to make sure that you handle the accidental call properly and inform the call handler that you do not need their services the right way.
What Happens When You Dial 911?
When you dial 911 you always go through to a call handler who can help you with the problem that you are having and who then dispatches the service you require.
Whether you need to call 911 in the early hours of the morning or the middle of the night, there is always someone there to answer your call to help and support you.
Emergency medical services, the fire department, and the police are open 24/7 so that they can arrive at the scene of an emergency and help those who are involved.
What To Do If You Accidentally Dial 911
People are aware that 911 receives fake and time-wasting calls regularly, so they never want to contribute to that as it is disrespectful and taking advantage of the service.
Therefore, when you accidentally dial 911, you must handle the call properly to make sure that you let the call handler know that you do not require any services.
It can be stressful accidentally dialing 911 when you realize what you have done and lots of people start to panic.
Here is what you need to do if you find yourself in a situation where you have accidentally dialed 911 and are unsure what to do.
Remain On The Call
If you hear a call handler ask “911, what’s your emergency?”, you need to make sure that you remain on the call.
Lots of people are tempted to hang up if they have accidentally dialed 911, but this doesn’t give the call handler any information about the situation.
The call handler will need to make sure that you are not in danger, so remain on the call to tell them that you are okay.
Hanging up will result in them thinking that there is a problem, so make sure that you remain on the other end of the phone to explain.
If You Did End The Call, Answer When They Ring Back
If you did happen to end the call once you heard an operator ask “911, what’s your emergency?”, they will call you back.
This is to make sure that you are okay, so you need to answer when they call you back to inform them that you do not require any emergency services.
If you do not answer when they call you back, the police will be sent to your location to check that you are okay, so answer the call to prevent this from happening.
If you end the call and do not explain the situation, the call handler will not just assume that you are okay. They need confirmation that you are okay and do not need an emergency service.
Explain The Mistake
This is what lots of people want to avoid as they are embarrassed that they have accidentally dialed 911, but you need to inform the call handler that you are safe.
Once you have explained the situation, the call handler can make sure that no emergency services are dispatched to your location and that you are safe.
The call handler may need to ask you some questions to make sure that you are okay and that you do not require emergency services to be sent out to you.
Do not panic when answering these questions, just answer them correctly and it will be okay. Make sure you give the correct information for their records.
Don’t Be Embarrassed
Accidentally dialing 911 is very common and it can all be sorted out in a matter of minutes once you explain to the call handler that it was an accident.
This prevents emergency services from being dispatched to your location and the call handler from having to call you back.
Explain the situation and do not feel embarrassed as it happens to many people.
It is much better to answer the 911 call and explain that it was an accidental dial, because if you don’t, the police could be sent out to your house to check the situation.
You would probably much rather explain the situation on the phone for a couple of minutes instead of having the police show up at your location, so do not be embarrassed when you are explaining what happened.
Can You Get Charged For Accidentally Calling 911?
Lots of people believe that accidentally calling 911 and wasting their time can result in you being fined, but how true is this?
It is important to make sure that the service is only used in an emergency, but accidental calls cannot be helped.
You will not get fined for accidentally dialing 911 and explaining the situation to the call handler.
There is a system called Computer Aided Dispatch that the police use to see the history of a person calling 911.
They can see information like the reason why you called 911 and where you were when you called.
As part of the process for this system, your accidental 911 call will be logged into the system, but it won’t affect any future calls that you make to 911.
If you often accidentally call 911, when you try dialing 911 for a real reason, a call handler may need to ask you some more questions to make sure that you need the emergency services.
You won’t be charged, but they need to know that you require help. If you do often dial 911 accidentally, you need to make sure that you stop it from happening.
What If You Cannot Explain The Situation?
There are lots of times when accidentally dialing 911 happens at an inconvenient time when you cannot talk at that very moment.
Maybe you are in a meeting or somewhere where you need to be quiet, so you might not be able to explain to the call handler that you do not require any emergency services.
You might assume that silence means that you do not need any help, but to the call handlers, it can signal that people are in danger and cannot speak.
When there is silence on the other end of the phone, this can signify that someone is in a threatening situation and the police can be sent to the location of the call.
Occasionally there are exceptions to having the police sent to the location immediately.
Some places ask the person who is calling to cough or press ‘55’ on the keypad to signify that they are in danger and that they need help, so this will let the call handler know that the emergency services are required.
Lots of states and countries do not offer this and do send the police to the location after hearing a silent call, so it is recommended that you tell the call handler that it was a mistake to avoid this happening.
Is It Ever Illegal To Dial 911?
It is illegal to dial 911 if it is for a fake reason?
When the call handlers receive a call and someone needs the emergency services to be sent out, they must get there quickly to help people who are in danger.
If it turns out that the call was a hoax, it is illegal and there can be serious repercussions.
When hoax calls come through and the emergency services are deployed, it is wasting time for those services.
It can also prevent people who actually need the help of the emergency services from getting the help and support that they need.
In the worst-case scenario, hoax calls can result in the deaths of people who need the help of 911.
Is It Illegal I Accidentally Dial 911?
It is not illegal to accidentally dial 911. This is a very common mistake that is made and everyone makes mistakes.
The most important thing that you can do if you accidentally dial 911 is to handle the situation properly and ensure that the time of the emergency services is not wasted.
What If My Phone Constantly Dials 911?
Lots of phones have features where you can easily dial 911 to make it easy and safe to call in dangerous situations. Unfortunately, these features can sometimes be faulty.
If you find that your phone is constantly dialing 911 and you are unsure why this is happening, it could be a sign that your phone is not working properly and it requires repairing.
If your phone is consistently dialing 911 and you are taking all of the precautions to make sure that you are not misdialing, take your phone to a professional so that they can fix it.
What Should I Do If I Accidentally Dial Emergency SOS?
iPhones have a feature where you can dial emergency SOS, which is the same as dialing 911.
When you accidentally dial emergency SOS, you should take the same protocol as when you accidentally dial 911.
If you do not stay on the line, you could be visited by the police so that they can check if you are okay.
Stay on the line and explain that it was an accident that you have called. This will make sure that the emergency services know that you are not in any danger.
Hanging up could result in them having to call you back, which you want to avoid.
Stay on the call, explain that it was a mistake, and then you will not waste any of the time of the emergency services.
How To Stop Accidentally Calling 911
When you accidentally call 911, it can be a very embarrassing feeling and you might feel awful for feeling like you’ve wasted the call handler’s time.
As you will be feeling like you never want it to happen again, there are some precautions that you can take to avoid being in a situation where you accidentally dial 911 again.
Delete 911 In Your Call History
It is very common to accidentally call someone from your call history by trying to tap one name and accidentally calling the person either above or below.
If you have recently accidentally called 911, you should delete it from your call history to make sure that you do not accidentally call it again instead of a friend or family member.
You can simply do this by going to your call history on your smartphone and swiping on the right-hand side of the contact.
It will then ask you if you want to delete this call, and pressing delete will remove it from your call history and prevent you from accidentally dialing 911 again.
Don’t Keep Your Phone In Your Pocket
Keeping your phone in your pocket is a common way that accidental calls happen, especially if your hands are in your pockets too.
You can easily accidentally call someone when your phone is loose in your pocket, and you want to make sure that it isn’t 911 that you accidentally call.
To avoid this from happening, you can keep your phone out of your pocket and make sure that it is in a position where you can avoid misdials happening.
This is very common for misdialing anyone, so to avoid it happening, keep your phone in a secure place where you can avoid surprise misdialed calls.
Learn About Your Devices
Although the main thing that we used to call people on is our phones, other popular devices enable you to call someone and can result in an accidental call to 911.
Apple Watches and tablets all have features where you can call someone, so it is important to know how they work to make sure that you do not accidentally call 911 from them.
Make sure that you read the manuals of your devices and find out features that have been implemented to make it easy for you to call 911.
Devices like iPhones have a feature where you can press the lock button 5 times to dial 911, so you need to be aware of features like this that could cause you to accidentally dial 911.
Lock Your Phone When You Aren’t Using It
A very common cause of accidental misdials is when your phone is not locked when you aren’t using it.
Locking your phone protects the contents from becoming pressed or messed with when you are not using it, so it is important to lock your phone to prevent this from happening.
Locking your phone means that it will need either your fingerprint or your face to unlock it, so it will be difficult to accidentally dial 911 when it is secure.
Leaving your phone unlocked may result in accidentally dialing 911, so always lock your phone when you aren’t using it. You never know when things in your bag, or wherever your phone is resting, could end up dialing 911 when your phone is unlocked.
To conclude, it is important to make sure that if you accidentally call 911, you handle the situation properly.
You should always remain on the phone, answer the call when they call you back if you hung up, explain that it was an accident, and do not feel embarrassed.
We are all human, and accidental calls to 911 are quite common, so do not be embarrassed.
It is important to prevent accidentally dialing 911 as you do not want to waste the time of the emergency services.
You can do this by making sure that your phone is locked and by deleting 911 from your call history.
This will make it more difficult for your phone to accidentally dial numbers without you knowing.
It is not illegal to accidentally dial 911, but it is illegal to call 911 with a fake call.
Emergency services are there to save lives, so you should never call 911 as a hoax.
That is wasting the precious time of emergency personnel, could result in someone who needs help not getting it, and there will be further action taken against the people who are involved.