|M.D. looking to curb false 9-1-1 calls|
|Local Content - Local News|
|Written by Greg Price|
|Thursday, 02 August 2012 14:34|
Municipal District of Taber council passed a motion unanimously to send a 9-1-1 Cell Phone Pocket Dial Resolution to be forwarded to Zone 1 of the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties.
The resolution is to address the significant rise in cell phones which has resulted in a rise in the number of misdialed or accidental calls to 9-1-1.
“If we can even cut those in half, it will help,” said Ben Elfring, deputy reeve of the M.D. of Taber before the motion was passed at council’s July 31 meeting.
While the motion highlights unintentional calls from wireless devices to 9-1-1 services account for up to 35 per cent of all 9-1-1 calls received by emergency call centres in some jurisdictions, the Taber/Vauxhall RCMP detachment have reported in the past in monthly crime reports, that all 9-1-1 calls in a month have turned out not to be legitimate. It is a taxing proposition given the large land mass the detachment has to cover in its jurisdiction.
While some unintentional 9-1-1 calls have been resolved in a manner of minutes, RCMP constables from the Taber/Vauxhall detachment have reported taking up a whole shift to locate the caller to ensure their safety as is protocol with 9-1-1 procedures.
It is the policy of first responders to seek out the individual to ensure an emergency does not exist.
Unintentional calls from wireless devices are attributable in most cases to the ability of the handset to be programmed to dial 9-1-1 with the depression of a single button.
The resolution states the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties request Industry Canada and the Canadian Radio-Telecommunications Commission immediately address the sale of all mobile handsets that support single button access to 9-1-1 emergency services.
Also that a requirement for future handsets sold in Canada include a minimum two-button push with a call confirmation or acknowledgment for access to the 9-1-1 emergency services.
The false 9-1-1- pocket dials are deemed to tie up police and emergency services needlessly and in turn take away critical resources from real emergencies. The resolution literature deems the most effective approach to reducing 9-1-1 calls dialed in error is to manage access by regulating manufacturers and providing education for mobile users on dialing 9-1-1 and on what to expect.
In 2007, at the direction of federal, provincial and territorial ministers responsible for justice, the deputy ministers responsible for justice authorized the creation of an ad hoc FPT committee to examine the extent to which 9-1-1 abuse may be interfering with the ability of 9-1-1 emergency systems to process and address real emergency calls. In April 2008, a report was released and noted unintentional 9-1-1 calls represented an average of 16 per cent of calls received.
In April 2011, the Calgary Public Safety Communications Centre launched a public awareness campaign to highlight the issue of unintentional 9-1-1 calls, noting that roughly 300 of the 1000 daily calls required additional work and were not ‘real’ emergencies.
Edmonton reviewed and reported a similar trend.
The Toronto Police Service received 1,227,791 calls to 9-1-1 in 2011 in which one in five were not valid emergencies. Pocket dials accounted for 107,748 which accounted for half of the false calls with misdials accounting for the rest.
York Regional Police received 97,886 unintentional 9-1-1 calls from wireless devices in 2011, accounting for 37.33 per cent of all 9-1-1 calls received. London Police Service received 6,622 pocket dials from August to November, 2011, averaging 11.24 of total 9-1-1 calls. Peel Regional Police received 80,724 unintentional 9-1-1 calls from wireless devices between June 1, 2011 and December 31, 2011, accounting for 33 per cent of all 9-1-1 calls received. In 2010 the Prince George RCMP received 753 false or abandoned 9-1-1 calls. In 2011, that number increased to 1216, a 61.5 increase.