So there I was taking my Sunday nap when the land line starts to ring. I figured it is time to get up anyway so I got dressed and went to look at the caller ID to see who it was. It wasn’t for me, and I was the only one home, so I decide to let the machine get it. As I’m walking away I hear the machine click on and a woman’s voice say “Hello, 911! HELLO!” I, amid some surprised swearing, run back and pick up the phone.
There followed a conversation where I insisted there was no emergency and that it was an incoming call and she insisted that someone had called from the place and called me a lair. She decided that I must have called accidentally and didn’t want to say and hug up leaving me still confused, and somewhat annoyed.
I called the person originally calling and she said she had called, but hung up when the machine picked up.
So, as I wait to see if the cops come by to check on things, anyone know what could have caused this?
Pressing invalid numbers on the phone will dial 911.
I had a couple keys acting up on my phone. I was pressing them repeatedly to try and knock any dust off the contacts. Next thing I know my phone rings and it’s 911. The keys I pressed weren’t the one or nine So I know I didn’t actually dial 911 by accident.
Since then, I unplug the phone before trying to get bad keys working.
It will? That’s news to me. Which invalid numbers will cause that? Do you have a cite or is this just folk wisdom?
I did have something like this happen to me once, when I had programmed some “special” keys; the “fire” key dialed the fire department, and the “police” key dialed 911. While cleaning the keyboard, I accidentally pressed the police key and a cop showed up at my door even tho I said it was an accident.
So I learned it’s all too easy to call 911, but pressing 9,1,1 isn’t all that slow or hard, so I recommend not using a single-button key for this purpose.
However, this doesn’t explain Caveat lector’s events.
It actually happened to me. The 911 operator was pretty pissed to like I had done something wrong. I was just randomly pressing numbers trying to get a bad keypad working. I was being carefull to avoid nine and ones.
I’ve had this happen at work. I’m the switchboard operator for a government agency and I had my manager at my closet door (I actually work in a very small room with an actual door and everything) with two police officers, saying that there had been a 911 call from the console. I certainly hadn’t dialed it, but the information about diddling with the keys may explain things.
Our caseworkers tend to get shuffled around between units a lot (on the order of at least two people being moved around every couple of weeks), and their numbers change every time, so I sometimes start to dial the worker’s old number and have to cancel and then dial the new one. But it’s rarely a LOT of dialing, and it’s not random…even the bad numbers are in the form of legitimate (if inaccurately assigned in my head) phone numbers.
Are you sure you didn’t have one of the buttons programmed to dial 911? That would be the most reasonable explanation. If 911 answered everytime we pressed a wrong number, they’d have to increase their staff just to handle those calls.
It’s also possible that your “bad” keypad was sending out the tones for 911 when you pressed other digits. I have a very old phone that sends out a 7 when I press a 9 – obviously the internal circuitry has an intermittent flaw.
Maybe the phone was sending a nine. The keypad got so bad that I finally had to replace the phone. A shame, because it was a classic AT&T desk phone from 1980. Phones back then were built to last almost forever.
To dial internationally, you have to dial 0011 before the country code.
In my office you have to dial 0 to get an external line.
The only fax machine with international dialing capacity (i.e. that hadn’t been blocked by the PABX) had a slightly sticky zero key. The number of times that someone would think that they’d dialled 00011 and had actually dialled 0000011 (thereby trying to send a fax to the emergency number) was pretty large. At some point they started sending faxes of their own saying, in essence, ‘stop faxing us’. At one point I collected about half a dozen of those in a day from the in tray.
I have found one possible cause. My friend in the phone company says that sometimes when working on the lines something happens that makes a connection to 911 from a number. However, neither they nor 911 knows why.
Some older cordless phones had an unusual feature: when the battery was dying completely, the phone would dial a 911 call.
I learned this when I got home from work one day to find two phone messages, one from the emergency crew that had received a 911 call from my home, and one from my next-door neighbor who had seen the crew and kept them from smashing my door in (she knew I lived alone, and that I was at work, so there was no one inside to rescue).
We were all baffled, until I mentioned the incident to my boss, who had done police volunteer work. He asked me if I had an old cordless phone, which I did. I had bought it for my mother in 1986, and had recently psuedo-inherited it when she sold her home to move to an assisted living facility. I had plugged it into an unused phone jack. The battery had worked the last I checked, but did not work when I checked it right after my boss weighed in, lending credence to his explanation.