Kootenai County, Idaho: The Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office 911 Center has seen a significant increase in abandoned or false 911 calls. Most of these calls are coming from some type of cellular device (cell phones, watches, etc.). Every 911 call is answered and if no one is on the line, the number is called back until someone answers the phone. At times, this can take several minutes of an Emergency Communications Officer’s time that could be used dealing with true emergencies.
An example of this was on May 20th, 2023 the 911 Center received over 50 911 calls from a single cell phone. The cellphone was determined to be at a local theme park. Most cellphones or wearables have technology designed into the device to automatically dial 911 when the device believes there was an accident or fall. It is believed this was the reason for the multiple 911 calls.
The Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office 911 Center is asking the public that if you accidently dial 911 please stay on the line. It only takes a few seconds to verify the call was an accident. Also, be aware that your device could automatically dial 911 when it senses a fall or accident. Most devices allow you to turn this function off, if you choose.
As the 911 Center continues to get busier and with our current staffing levels, it is important to limit the amount of un-necessary phone calls into the center. This frees up time for our Emergency Communications Officers to deal with actual emergencies and provide services to our citizens and First Responders.