Check your phone settings to avoid accidental 911 calls, Green Lake County Sheriff’s Office says

911 call file photo
911 call file photo
Published: May. 23, 2023 at 12:11 PM CDT
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GREEN LAKE COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) - The Green Lake County Sheriff’s Office says 911 dispatch centers across the country are experiencing more accidental 911 calls than ever.

Authorities believe it’s connected to smart phone and smart device settings that automatically dial 911.

“It is believed that the cause of this are the Emergency SOS features on cell phones and the newest operating systems as well as 911 features on smartwatches and other devices that people don’t know they are activating,” the sheriff’s office said in a news release Tuesday.

If you accidentally call 911, authorities ask that you stay on the line and answer the 911 dispatcher’s questions. If you hang-up, law enforcement will do everything possible to get in touch with you. Please answer that call back.

The sheriff’s office says law enforcement must assume that all calls are for emergencies, and there are occasions where people do call 911 and cannot relay their emergency because of criminal conduct or medical issues.

The sheriff’s office ask that you check your device settings. One of the common 911 accidental dials is due to putting a phone in a cup holder because the side button on the phone pushes on the edge of the cup holder.

Authorities ask that you check a couple of questions when working on your device: Do you know how your device is programmed to dial 911? Are those settings appropriate for your life? Are you using your device or storing it a way that increases the likelihood of an accidental 911 call? Can you change the settings to reduce the chance of dialing 911 accidentally?

The Green Lake County Sheriff’s Office is on pace to more than double the number of accidental 911 calls in 2023 when compared to last year.