Accidentally Call 911? Do This! Instant Emergency Response Steps

Accidentally Call 911? Do This!

Accidentally dialing 911 can be a frightening experience, especially for kids. It’s important to stay calm and follow proper procedures to ensure emergency services are not unnecessarily dispatched. Here’s what you should do if you accidentally call 911:

1. Stay on the Line

If you accidentally call 911, it’s crucial to stay on the line. 911 operators will try to assess the situation and determine if there is an actual emergency. Hanging up may result in emergency services being dispatched, as they will assume something is wrong and try to call back. Stay on the line until you have spoken to the operator and explain the situation.

2. Explain the Mistake

Once you’re connected to the 911 operator, calmly explain that you accidentally called and that there is no emergency. It’s important to speak clearly and concisely. Kids can say something like, “Hello, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to call 911. Everything is okay, and there is no emergency.”

Accidentally Call 911? Do This! Instant Emergency Response Steps


3. Follow the Operator’s Instructions

The 911 operator will provide instructions on what to do next. Follow their guidance, as they are trained to handle these situations. They may ask for your name and location to confirm that you are safe and that no emergency services are needed. Cooperate and provide the necessary information when asked.

4. Educate Kids About 911

Accidental calls to 911 can be avoided by educating kids about the proper use of emergency services. Teach them that 911 is for emergencies only, such as fires, accidents, or immediate threats to safety. Discuss the importance of not playing with telephones or cell phones, emphasizing that dialing 911 is a serious matter.

Accidentally Call 911? Do This! Instant Emergency Response Steps


5. Check Your Phone’s Settings

If accidental calls to 911 continue to occur, it’s a good idea to check your phone’s settings. Some devices have an emergency call feature that can be triggered by pressing a certain button combination or if the screen is tapped repeatedly. Disable these features if they are causing accidental calls. Additionally, keeping your phone locked when not in use can prevent unintentional 911 dials.

6. Apologize to the Operator

It’s important to apologize to the 911 operator for the inconvenience caused by the accidental call. They understand that mistakes happen, but acknowledging the error and expressing gratitude for their service is the right thing to do. Kids can say, “I’m sorry for calling by mistake. Thank you for helping me. I won’t do it again.”

7. Discuss with Children the Consequences

Take the opportunity to discuss with children the potential consequences of accidental calls to 911. Explain that emergency services may have been needed elsewhere during the time wasted on the accidental call. Teach them about the importance of being responsible with technology and the potential impact their actions can have on others.

8. Be Mindful of Cell Phone Accessibility

If you have young children who may accidentally call 911, be mindful of your cell phone’s accessibility. Consider keeping your phone out of reach or using childproof covers to prevent accidental dialing. Taking these precautions can minimize the likelihood of accidental calls in the first place.

9. Inform Emergency Services

In some areas, emergency services may have policies in place to check on accidental 911 calls. If this is the case, you may receive a visit from law enforcement or emergency personnel. If they arrive, calmly explain the situation and let them know that it was an accidental call. Cooperate fully and provide any necessary information they may need.

10. Learn from the Experience

Accidents happen, and it’s important to learn from them. Use the accidental 911 call as an opportunity to reinforce the importance of responsible phone usage and emergency preparedness. Discuss what went wrong and how to prevent it in the future. By turning the experience into a learning opportunity, you can help ensure it doesn’t happen again.

Frequently Asked Questions For Accidentally Call 911? Do This! Instant Emergency Response Steps

Can You Go To Jail For Accidentally Calling 911?

No, accidental calls to 911 are generally not considered illegal, but it’s best to stay on the line and inform the dispatcher.

What Should I Say If I Accidentally Call 911?

Stay calm and explain to the dispatcher that it was an accidental call, provide your location, and assure them there is no emergency.

How Can I Prevent Accidental 911 Calls?

Lock your phone keypad, use an emergency call lock feature, or enable call confirmation prompts to avoid accidental calls.

What Happens If I Accidentally Pocket Dial 911?

If you accidentally pocket dial 911, do not hang up. Stay on the line and inform the dispatcher that it was a pocket dial to avoid unnecessary emergency response.


If you accidentally call 911, it’s crucial to remain calm and follow the proper steps. Stay on the line, explain the mistake, and cooperate with the operator’s instructions. Take the opportunity to educate children about the proper use of emergency services, and be mindful of your phone’s settings and accessibility. By taking these precautions and learning from the experience, accidental 911 calls can be minimized, ensuring emergency services are available for those who truly need them.

Updated: February 19, 2024 — 2:42 am