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911 Calls

photograph from Health & Safety story

(before 2003)

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People can call 911 when they need help. The police will come quickly. This phone number should be used only in an emergency.

There have been some problems with people using the 911 phone number. More than half of the calls made to it are accidental. These accidental calls are not real emergencies.

Calling 911 when you do not need it can be very bad. It wastes the time of the people answering the calls. It can even force someone who has a real emergency to wait before getting the help they need.

Many accidental 911 calls come from cell phones. Keys are sometimes pushed and the call goes through without the owner of the phone knowing that he has called in an emergency. A group of people is trying to find a way to fix this problem.

One area is trying a new program that might help solve the problem of accidental 911 calls. This program will make callers of 911 calls push another key on the phone if it is a real emergency. People hope that change will reduce the number of accidental 911 calls going through.

(This was adapted from an original story provided by News10 KXTV Sacramento.)

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