Tuesday, February 27, 2007

911 is Always Open

Not only are operators figuratively "standing by" but, and this is more important, you can always call 911.

If you have a phone at home with a cord on it and it's plugged into the wall, you can call 911, even during a power outage, even if you don't pay your phone bill.

The MAN can keep you from calling locally or long distance if you don't pay them but he CANNOT keep you from calling 911.

If you only have cordless phones at home, you are screwed without power. So keep a backup phone with a cord. They go for just a couple of bucks these days.

Wireless phones: you can call 911 without even having phone service. If the battery works and if the phone conforms to the local cellular system then you can dial 911. They can shut your phone off for not paying the bill but they cannot keep you from dialing 911.

It's the law.

VoIP is a different matter and here's my whole view on that: I wouldn't depend on it.

But back to wireless phones for a sec: If you upgrade to a new cellphone make sure you have the phone company strip your info from your old phone.

You can also donate your phones to local women's shelters so that people at risk can have a phone which can access 911. I suggest you do just that: donate the phone. You might save a life.

What you don't want to do is give the old phone to your child as a toy. It's not a toy and unless the battery is truly dead it will likely squeak out a 911 call or two even if normal calls would be hopeless.

Remember: once it's dialed, we get the call even if you hang up.

Which brings me to this news item:

Girl, 8, makes 100 prank 911 calls

Feb 20 2:26 PM US/Eastern

SHEBOYGAN, Wis., Feb. 20 (UPI) -- No charges will be filed against an 8-year-old Wisconsin girl who made more than 100 prank calls to emergency operators last week.

Lt. Jim Risseeuw of the Sheboygan County, Wis., Sheriff's Department said the unidentified girl was traced with the help of AT&T and TracFone, which identified the phone's owner as the girl's mother, the Sheboygan Press reported Tuesday.

The woman had stopped using the phone but all cell phones can call 911 even if they don't have active service.

Risseeuw said the third-grader identified herself to dispatchers as "Matthew" when she made the calls, some of which contained profanities, the report said.

However, he said because of her age, she won't be charged.

"At this point, the matter was corrected," Risseeuw said. "We'll leave it for the parents to deal with."

Breibart.com News

Note that the 8 year old cheesehead not only dialed 911 on purpose but she used profanity and adopted an alias.

Who says the public school system is failing? This girl is already qualified to be a member of the United States Congress.


Red Phone
White Phone
Cell Phone


Jas said...

Egads. The parents' attitude was probably something like "why did they let her call 100 times? They should have stopped it". The parents will blame everyone else, except the child, and likely not discipline her.

Oh well. Why would anyone on this planet want to be personally responsible for their own actions or the actions of their minor children?

Bah, makes my head hurt.

John Cowart said...

Good info here; I didn't know about this stuff.

I notice the one photo is of a rotary phone. Once one of my teenaged daughters had to call emergency from an elderly neighbor's home but she had never seen a rotary dial before, only phones with push buttons. She had to run get me to call rescue for the neighbor.

AM said...

Wow, J.C., that's a trip!

I do appreciate the callout to the cheeseheads, E.

But not in a creepy way.

Eric said...

Jas - too true. I'm sure it took the agency 20 calls to even get upset enough to do the research required to get the information necessary to track it down (it's usually a process involving calling the cell companies who are none to happy about providing information, which I guess is a good thing for the customer).

John - that's so funny. I wonder what kids think "dialing" the number means? I guess they don't. I wouldn't.

There's a story (which might be urban legend but I tend to believe it is true) that when they first developed the national emergency number they advertised it as "Nine-Eleven" until they heard from folks who were concerned that there was no "11" on their phones. Thus "Nine-One-One."

I will always think of "Nine-Eleven" as the day of national mourning and "Nine-One-One" as what I do or who I call when I need help.

georgianblue said...

you should also remember that even when your cell phone's keypad is locked, it will still dial 911.

When my son was toddler I'd give it to him to play with, thinking if I locked the keypad he could do no harm. I got it back one day and the screen was filled with 9's and 1's. Luckily he had not actually hit the send button, but it was the last time I let him play with the phone!