To avoid accidental 911 calls, Kenai Peninsula Borough Office of Emergency advises a number a measures, including not putting smartphones in vehicle cup holders. (File)

To avoid accidental 911 calls, Kenai Peninsula Borough Office of Emergency advises a number a measures, including not putting smartphones in vehicle cup holders. (File)

Emergency management seeks to reduce accidental 911 calls

According to OEM, 98% of accidental 911 calls are the result of smartphone and smart device technology.

Almost 1,000 people accidentally called 911 in July, according to the Kenai Peninsula Borough Office of Emergency Management. That’s up 55% from last year.

In a post shared to Facebook last week, OEM’s emergency alert system — KPB Alerts — provided information on how people can reduce accidental 911 calls, which are processed at the Soldotna Public Safety Communications Center for calls made in the borough.

According to OEM, 98% of accidental 911 calls are the result of smartphone and smart device technology, which make it easy to place an emergency call.

“Each 911 call is considered an emergency situation until verified,” the post says.

To help reduce the number of 911 calls made accidentally from smart technology, OEM suggests people lock their phone’s home screen and disable features that allow 911 to be called even if the home screen is locked. Additionally, the use of phone holsters can help prevent accidental 911 calls.

People are advised against putting their smartphones in vehicle cup holders and do not recommend allowing children to play with cellphones because disconnected phones are still able to call 911.

“If you do accidentally call 911, do not hang up on the dispatcher,” OEM recommends. “Instead, inform them that it was an accident and answer their necessary questions.”

More information about the “Lock it Before you Pocket” campaign can be found on the borough’s website at kpb.us or on the KPB Alerts Facebook page.

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at ashlyn.ohara@peninsulaclarion.com.

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