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Making a 911 Call from a Wireless Phone

Making a 911 Call from a Wireless Phone

Since many seniors have kept their cell phone number from their previous home and state, and there are fewer and fewer hardwired home phones, knowing how to make a 911 from a cell phone is an important life skill.

Here are tips from the Federal Communications Commission:

Tell the emergency operator the location of the emergency immediately.

Provide the emergency operator with your wireless phone number, so you can be reached if the call gets disconnected.

Most dispatch centers cannot receive texts, photos, and videos.

If your wireless phone is not “initialized” (meaning you do not have a contract for service with a wireless service provider), and your emergency call gets disconnected, you must call the emergency operator back because the operator does not have your telephone number and cannot contact you.

To help public safety personnel allocate emergency resources, learn and use the designated number in your state for highway accidents or other non-life-threatening incidents. (States often reserve specific numbers for these types of incidents. For example, “#77” is the number used for highway accidents in Virginia.)

Refrain from programming your phone to automatically dial 911 when one button, such as the “9” key, is pressed. Unintentional wireless 911 calls, which often occur when auto-dial keys are inadvertently pressed, cause problems for emergency call centers.

If your wireless phone came pre-programmed with the auto-dial 911 feature turned on, turn it off (consult your user manual for instructions).

Lock your keypad when you’re not using your wireless phone to help prevent accidental calls to 911.

Create a contact in your wireless phone’s memory with the name “ICE” (In Case of Emergency), which lists the phone numbers of people you want to have notified in an emergency.