Phantom Phone Calls
"You can actually hear the line open and the rustling in the pocket or the conversation the caller is having or whatever music they're listening to," Alachua County's Sheriff's Office's Art Forgey said.
The National Emergency Number Association estimates that across the U.S., up to 70 percent of 911 calls are from cell phones that were misdialed while bumping around in a person's pocket or purse, and Alachua County is no different.
"We take a substantial amount of calls that are like that every single day, and it's as easy as locking the key pad to stop it," Forgey added.
These "phantom calls" can be an annoyance when a person accidentally dials a friend or family member, but it can be a hazard when a person dials emergency workers, and they can happen to anyone.
"If I'm putting it back in my pocket and I accidentally press the button and I hear it on my Bluetooth, I'll be like, 'what is this? whose phone am i calling?'" Antron McCullough of Ocala recalled.
More than 60 percent of all 911 calls received in Alachua County are from cell phones.
"This one here you have to open it to dial, so I couldn't do that mistakenly," Cross City's Tommy Cooper explained. "You don't want 911 getting calls if they don't need to."
According to Forgey, even without service, a cell phone can be used to call 911 if it has a charged battery, so dispose of phones properly and be careful when young children play with them. Misdials can occur on landlines as well, because of misdialed area codes and outgoing codes that can be similar to 911.
"The best thing to do is stay on the line and verify that info, because otherwise we're going to send somebody to check on them," Forgey warned.
By Ted Latiak, WCJB TV20 News.
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