Your Old Cell Phone Is Not A Toy 7/30/13

cell_phone_oldIt’s always nice to upgrade to a new phone. Who doesn’t like all the neat features of the latest model?  With all the incentives to upgrade, many of us end up with a pile of old phones knocking around our junk drawers or stuffed into a closet, and not thought of again.

Some of them, however, end up in the hands of very small children, who love to pretend they’re talking to someone, just like they’ve seen the adults in their lives doing all the time.  The only trouble is, many times they’re not pretending, they’re actually talking to a 9-1-1 operator!

If your old phone still has a charge, even though it’s disconnected, it can still call 9-1-1.  And since kids love to press buttons, at some point they’re either going to hit 9-1-1, or will hold down the 9 long enough to trigger the phone’s auto-emergency dial feature, or they’ll hit the one-button dial for 9-1-1.  One way or the other, it ends up ringing into 9-1-1.  It won’t give a location most of the time (unless it has GPS that’s active, but even then that’s problematical as far as a good location is concerned), and we can’t call it back.  It’s a call that has to be answered, since we never know what is on the other end of our line.  While we’re figuring out if this is a real call for help, other lines may be ringing with real emergencies.  My last few work shifts I’ve answered a lot more calls from disconnected old phones in the hands of children than I answered calls for real emergencies.

As kids are wont to do, the really small ones will put that old phone in their mouths, and that’s never a good idea.  The battery, even if dead, can leak chemicals, and you certainly don’t want the baby ingesting any of that.  Keep those old phones away from the children. (and keep an eye on your new one!  They love to play with those, too.)

Don’t keep old phones, and don’t let children play with them.  Dispose of them through your cell provider, or a recycle facility.

Again with the disclaimer:  Not an official posting by any 9-1-1 center, just a tip from one of your friendly 9-1-1 dispatchers.

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