More Iowans are accidentally calling 911, dispatchers say

Dispatchers in Iowa say more people are accidentally calling 911.
Dispatchers in Iowa say more people are accidentally calling 911.
Published: Jun. 1, 2023 at 7:05 AM CDT
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DES MOINES, Iowa (KCCI) - Dispatchers in Iowa said more people are accidentally calling 911.

Recent data shows dispatchers are answering around 32 abandoned calls each day this year, compared to an average of 24 calls a day last year.

The Polk County Sheriff’s office responds to calls from 12 police departments and 14 fire departments.

“A lot of your smartphones today, whether it be Apple devices or Android devices, have features where they can automatically call 911. And we’re starting to see a lot of those repercussions,” said Nick Brockman, Polk County Sheriff’s Office.

Officials said the real challenge is when people hang up and don’t call back.

That’s when deputies are dispatched to the location where the call was made to make sure everything is okay.

When the call is a misdial, this can pull essential resources from more urgent matters.

“Because of the unknowns, that is a higher priority call for us. And so that could take a lot of time for the deputies that could be responding to other calls,” said Brockman.

If you accidentally call 911, don’t hang up. Stay on the line and explain the mistake to the dispatcher.

There are also ways to turn off crash detection features on smart phones that call automatically.