Deactivated Cell Phones Concern Ky. 911 Board

Deactivated Cell Phones Concern Ky. 911 Board

News Dec 05, 2012

Dec. 05--The members of the Owensboro-Daviess County consolidated 911 board plan to launch an educational campaign early next year, asking people to get rid of cell phones that are no longer attached to active cellular service plans.

At the 911 board's meeting Tuesday morning, city-county 911 Director Paul Nave said deactivated cell phones can still be used to call 911. But when a person uses a phone from a closed cellular account to make a 911 call, dispatchers can't call the person back if the call is dropped.

"It's a false sense of security," Nave said after the meeting. "On a normal (cell phone), if we get disconnected, we can call you back." With a deactivated cell phone, however, "if we lose you and you're screaming for help, you're helpless."?

Deactivated cell phones only tell dispatchers the location of the cellular tower that routed the call, Nave said.

More than 82 percent of all 911 calls to Owensboro-Daviess County combined dispatch come from cell phones -- compared to a national average of 70 percent, Nave said. Of those cellular 911 calls, 28 percent of them come from phones from deactivated cellular accounts.

Only a handful of those 911 calls from deactivated phones are actual emergencies, Nave said.

Art Ealum, chief of the Owensboro Police Department and co-chair of the 911 board, said, "All too often, parents give those old phones to their 2-year-olds to play with. They don't realize the downside."

City Fire Chief Steve Mitchell said there was one case where a child was able to call 911 from a deactivated phone and get medical treatment for a relative that was suffering complications from diabetes.

"He literally saved her life from a deactivated phone," Mitchell said. "I realize it's one (call) out of 5,000, but still, I can't help but keep thinking of that one time."

The board approved creating educational videos to encourage people to discard deactivated cell phones. Nave said he would like to have the videos completed in January and ready for broadcast on public access television.

Continue Reading

In other business Tuesday, Mitchell said he was concerned about an incident where a person with a personal medical alert device -- which are used to contact 911 dispatch -- was used to report a robbery. The person activated the device but could not speak, so emergency crews did not know the incident was not a medical emergency.

"That placed firefighters at the scene of a robbery in progress," Mitchell said.

Firefighters only notify law enforcement on medical emergencies if they have to force entry into a residence, Mitchell said.

Mitchell asked the board to consider dispatching law enforcement any time a person activates a personal medical alert device. Calls from such devices happen at a rate of "at least probably one a day," Mitchell said.

"If people are going to use them for all hazards, should we have (law enforcement) going on all of them?" Mitchell asked.

Daviess County Sheriff Keith Cain, who is co-chair of the 911 board, said, "I'm reluctant to dictate policy based on isolated incident." Cain asked the board to accumulate data on emergency calls from personal medical alert devices before taking any action.

"If there's a need, we can amend our policy to meet whatever the need is," Cain said.

James Mayse, 691-7303,

Copyright 2012 - Messenger-Inquirer, Owensboro, Ky.

Messenger-Inquirer, Owensboro, Ky.
James Mayse
The drones are used to improve scene management by assessing areas that are difficult or dangerous for personnel to reach.
Dozens of firefighters and police officers join the annual week-long Brotherhood Ride to honor 20 first responders who have died in the line of duty in Florida.
The event will be held on August 20, with all proceeds going to Narberth Ambulance, an agency that provides emergency services to 145,000 residents.
Speakers presented on topics such as disaster relief, emerging pathogens, the opioid crisis and cyber security.
The state's Department of Health has established an agreement for UNC and NCBP to collaborate on providing public health data to NEMSIS to better prepare EMS for national emergencies.
State troopers rendered aid before turning them over to responding EMS units and New Castle County Paramedics.
Three people were fatally shot and at least 21 others were wounded in separate attacks from Saturday morning to early Sunday.
Crestline Coach attended the Eighth Annual Saskatchewan Health & Safety Leadership conference on June 8 to publicly sign the “Mission: Zero” charter on behalf of the organization, its employees and their families.
ImageTrend, Inc. announced the winners of the 2017 Hooley Awards, which recognize those who are serving in a new or innovative way to meet the needs of their organization, including developing programs or solutions to benefit providers, administrators, or the community.
Firefighters trained with the local hospital in a drill involving a chemical spill, practicing a decontamination process and setting up a mass casualty tent for patient treatment.
Many oppose officials nationwide who propose limiting Narcan treatment on patients who overdose multiple times to save city dollars, saying it's their job to save lives, not to play God.
While it's unclear what exact substance they were exposed to while treating a patient for cardiac arrest, two paramedics, an EMT and a fire chief were observed at a hospital after experiencing high blood pressure, rapid heartbeat, and mood changes.
After a forest fire broke out, students, residents and nursing home residents were evacuated and treated for light smoke inhalation before police started allowing people to return to their buildings.
AAA’s Stars of Life program celebrates the contributions of ambulance professionals who have gone above and beyond the call of duty in service to their communities or the EMS profession.