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MASON CITY, Iowa - Almost everyone with a cell phone has experienced the accidental dialing of a number, known as "butt dialing." Dispatchers say they have been dealing with it more over the past few years.
Heather Hahn, the dispatch supervisor for Cerro Gordo county said, "Any time anyone dials in 9-1-1 or accidentally bumps the keypad, sometimes it will come in here and if they notice it real quick they try to hang up. It doesn't work, it still calls into 9-1-1."
Dispatch centers use tracking technology to find the location of a cell phone and send out police if they don't receive a response from the caller. Hahn said don't hang up the phone if you find out that it has called 9-1-1.
"Just stay on the phone and talk to us, then say hey, it was an accident. We're fine with that as long as we know that's what's going on. Otherwise, if they hang up right away, we still have to call them back," she said.
Derek Rafael, a Mason City resident, said he found this out the hard way.
"They showed up at my house. Yeah, they came to my house after that. I called them back after that and told them it was an accident, but they still had to come by and check it out too," he said.
In Winnebago County, they say 14 percent of their calls are accidental cell phone calls. Over the last two years, those calls are up 34%.
The best way to avoid accidentally calling 9-1-1 is to make sure you use a screen lock, passcodes, and hit the power button on the phone to black out the screen before putting it away.