Rash of butt dials from Kings Island forces county to change 911 tech
Warren County Communications fielded more than 100 silent 911 calls during the park’s opening weekend alone.
CINCINNATI (Enquirer) - Warren County is using new 911 screening technology after receiving an influx of accidental emergency calls from Kings Island visitors.
In the Mason amusement park’s opening weekend alone, the Warren County Communication Center received 15 hang-up 911 calls and 128 calls that were silent, Warren County Emergency Management Agency Director Melissa Bour said.
Many smartphones have an emergency call feature that will automatically dial 911 if the side or volume buttons are held for a few seconds. Accidental 911 calls can happen when amusement park visitors put their phones in their pockets and go on rides.
With the new software, people who call 911 and hang up will receive a text message verifying whether or not they need emergency assistance. The text provides a phone number that people can call if they accidentally dialed 911 and do not need help. All callers in Warren County that are serviced by the Warren County Communications Center will receive the text, not just callers from inside the park.
First responders are dispatched the same time that the text message is sent, whether it’s police officers to a residence or Kings Island security to an area of the park. If there is no return call made to the Warren County Communication Center, emergency responders continue with their response.
Bour said the tool is helpful not only for Kings Island pocket dialers, but also for kids who accidentally dial 911 on their parent’s phone.
“Normally, the officer will still go out to that residence because it’s a good teaching moment for kids, to tell them, ‘This is what happens when you call 911,’” she said.
The agency advises Kings Island visitors to turn off their cellphones or put them on airplane mode while on rides to avoid making accidental 911 calls.
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