Calling 911 from a Passcode Protected Cell Phone

More than 70% of 911 calls come fromcell phone screen a cell phone nowadays and that number will continue to increase as more people give up their home phone lines.  It is better to call from a landline, but there isn’t always one available. So what do you do if you don’t know or can’t remember the phone’s passcode?

Mobile phones have a feature that will enable anyone to call 911 without entering a passcode.  Parents can show their children this feature and explain how to make a 911 call easily and quickly from a cell phone.

To call from a phone with a passcode unknown to the user, first press the word Emergency to reveal the number pad.  Tap 9 first, followed by 1, then 1 again and finally, press the green button with the image of a phone. 

The 911 dispatcher will answer and ask about the type of emergency, the caller’s name and the location.  Children should know their full name and address.  Tell children to stay on the line until the 911 operator tells them to hang up.

911 is to be called when there is an emergency.  In simple terms, an emergency is when there is a dangerous threat to a person or property, such as a crime, a fire or a car accident, or a seriously sick or injured person.    Some examples of serious injury or illness are: chest pains, difficulty breathing, lots of blood (around 2 cups), unconsciousness or confusion, slurred speech and sudden severe headache, a blow to the head, neck or spine. A barking dog and problems with your internet connection are not emergencies.

Children must understand never to call 911 for practice, as a joke or for any other non-emergency reason.  But if you or your children are not sure whether to call EMS, then you probably should!  911 is there to help you and you should not hesitate to call in the case of an emergency.

Use role play situations with children to pretend practice when and how to call 911, but don’t actually make the call.

Another important tip is to lock your phone when you’re not using it.  Thousands of people call 911 everyday by mistake. This ties up the operator and prevents emergency workers from getting to the people who really need their help.

While you are waiting for EMS to arrive you can do a few things to help the situation.

Remain calm – This not only helps you to handle the situation but it also helps the injured person too! Providing comfort and positive reassurance often keeps the situation from progressing into something more serious.

Doors and dogs – Make sure the doors are unlocked and pets are contained. Some pets become very stressed if their owner is injured and may react in a negative way. Keeping them contained will keep everyone safe.

Make way – If anyone is there who can help you to clear a path or move vehicles from driveways, ask for their help. Anything you can do to clear the way for EMS Personnel will allow them to provide care faster.

These are just a few hard and fast rules about calling 911 from a cell phone.  If you’d like more information on when to call 911, SOS First Aid offers Red Cross First Aid courses in many communities in southern Ontario and would be happy to help with this and many other first aid topics.