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Smart Devices Creating Steady Rise In Accidental 911 Calls

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Smart Devices Creating Steady Rise In Accidental 911 Calls

Smart devices are causing a consistent increase in accidental 911 calls across the Upper Cumberland.

Van Buren 911 Director Julie Dodson said the number of accidental 911 calls has been rising steadily ever since people started getting their own smartphones. She said people keep their phones unlocked in their pockets, which can often lead to an accidental call.

“But over the years it has got a whole lot worse,” Dodson said. “Especially in the summer time. People in state parks, hiking, you know, just outside in general.”

Putnam County 911 Assistant Director Josh Womack said he thinks the rise is due to the crash and fall detection features in newer smartphones and watches being accidentally triggered. Womack said they have to treat all calls with the same urgency because it can be difficult to determine which calls are accidental over the phone.

“We’ve got emergency vehicles from different agencies running lights and sirens through town, and it not only puts the public in danger but the responders in danger going to a nothing call,” Womack said.

Womack said around two dozen calls in Putnam County over the past year were due to the phone and watch features.

“You just notice it more because it’s new,” Womack said. “‘Hey, I’m sorry my watch called,’ or when you get there and they’re like ‘Oh, I didn’t do anything.’”

Dodson and Womack both said there is not consistent demographic or group that is accidentally dialing 911 more than the others.

“It’s across the board,” Dodson said. “It’s everyone.”

Womack said the county is receiving more 911 calls then ever due to growth in the area, and accidental calls are going to increase in proportion.

“We understand that as we grow as a county that we’re going to get more 911 calls, so we just, we treat every call the same,” Womack said. “We give it its due diligence that it deserves, and we send everybody. We don’t take anything lightly.”


The post Smart Devices Creating Steady Rise In Accidental 911 Calls appeared first on News Talk 94.1/AM 1600.