Siri pranks cause problems for emergency services


Last night at the dinner table, my girlfriend, out of the blue, picked up her phone, held down the home button and the familiar Siri bong sounded.

“One twelve.”

She said clearly into the phone. Before I could tell her to stop, Siri responded.

“Calling emergency services 911.”

She fumbled with the phone and furiously pressed cancel through that dratted LifeProof case. “Oh my goodness”, she said, although not quite so eloquently, “A presenter on the radio this morning said to tell Siri ‘112’ and something hilarious will happen”

I had seen an article previously about a county in Colorado asking people not to perpetuate the ‘hilarious’ Siri pranks due to an influx of mistaken calls due to telling Siri 112. This has become such an issue not necessarily because of the mistaken calls, but because most people inevitably hang up as soon as they recognize what the heck is going on. If the emergency services receive a hang-up call, they have to call back.

Sure enough, after I had explained this to my girlfriend, her phone rings, she answers and on the other end is an Albuquerque, New Mexico 911 operator.

While I am hysterically laughing at her, she, while stifling a laugh herself, smoothly and sharply says,


The operator responds, “Thank you, goodbye.” As you can imagine, laughs of disbelief ensue, though they shouldn’t have. This isn’t a particularly funny prank, and while I can usually find humor in most situations, this is not one of them.

This prank along with another along the lines of “ask Siri about 9/11” are clogging emergency service lines. Pocket dials and mistake 911 calls are an issue that dispatchers have to deal with, but now it’s a social media phenomenon, agencies have a problem on their hands. Brian Smith, a supervisor at the 911 dispatch center in Winnebago, Wisconsin says:

If [you] accidentally dial, stay on the line. If [you] hang up we have to call [you] back, verify where [you] are, if there is a problem and sometimes we send a police officer out to where [you] are to visit them just to make sure everything is ok.

For those of you wondering, 112 is an emergency number most common in European countries, but Siri, being the smart assistant she is, associates any emergency number you say to the one that is relevant to your location.

So, don’t ask Siri about 9/11, 112, 999, 000, or any other emergency number in other countries around the world. If you do get tricked into it, stay on the line and clarify that your call was a mistake. It might be worth talking to your kids about it as well. It’s not particularly funny to be occupying emergency recourses for a few seconds of suspense and hilarity. Secondly, fight your instinct to hang up, just stay on the line and say, “mistake,” “pocket dial,” etc. It will save dispatch centers time and resources.

Let us know your thought’s on this “hilarious” prank floating around in the media.

[button link=”” icon=”fa-external-link” side=”left” target=”blank” color=”285b5e” textcolor=”ffffff”]Source: We Are Green Bay[/button]

Last Updated on November 27, 2018.


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