Dialing 911 Could Be Dangerous

Dialing 911 sets off a loud alarm on newer Verizon phones, potentially putting customers in danger. Imagine dashing under your bed at the sound of an intruder breaking through the front door, only to wonder if you should call 911 from your cellphone because it would reveal your location. A Texas woman was forced to make a similar decision when she discovered that the security chain guarding her vacant property was missing.

She grabbed her new Casio G’zOne phone from Verizon Wireless, which to her horror made an audible alarm when she called 911.

Fearing vandals were still on the property, she hung up and hid, then put her hand over the earpiece and dialed again to muffle the sounds.

“I was afraid the criminals were down the driveway and they would hear and they would know somebody was doing something and they would come out to stop me,” she said.

Verizon believes that the alarm is required by federal law.

“The tone our customer experienced is our interpretation of Section 255 of the Telecommunications Act calling for a provider of telecommunications service to offer service that is accessible and usable by individuals with disabilities.”

That would be nice, except an FCC spokesman called bullshit:

“The Commission has not implemented any rules pursuant to Section 255 that would require the use of any tones concerning 911 calls.”

Verizon should rollback their misguided extension of “Can You Hear Me Now?” to criminals. Dialing 911 should never put you in danger.

Verizon customer calls phone alarm ‘dangerous’ [KVUE News]
(Photo: mellomango)

Comments

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  1. cedarpointfan says:

    I could see the tone as both helpful and dangerous. Perhaps holding down the “send” key would enable the tone and dial 911, while merely pressing it for a moment would just dial 911. (As a solution)

  2. howie_in_az says:

    This is the most retarded thing ever. How could anyone at Verizon think this is A Good Idea(tm)(R) ?

  3. kantwait says:

    Weird… I distinctly remember dialing 911 a few years ago after being the first on the scene of a fatal car accident and don’t remember my phone doing that and being with Verizon. Is this something new?

  4. Yankees368 says:

    On most phones I have owned on Sprint, when you dial 911, it makes 3 short, low volume tones and the phone will then go into emergency mode. I wouldnt think it would ever be that loud.

  5. lalala1949 says:

    I can just imagine millions of Verizon users testing out whether their phones make the audible alarm and then tying up emergency call centers nationwide once the word of this gets out.

  6. PinkBox says:

    @lalala1949: LOL, I was about to write pretty much the same thing.

  7. PsychicPsycho3 says:

    Mine plays this odd triumphant jingle…

    Odd.

  8. JayXJ says:

    Must be a Verizon thing. I’ve called 911 with T-Mobile and Cingular and the tone when it connects is different but no audible tone is heard.

  9. FLConsumer says:

    Does anyone know which Verizon phones do this? Verizon’s screwed things up by insisting their shitty interface be used on all of their phones regardless of the phone’s capabilities, so it’s very likely this affects a wide range of models. Whereas, if this were any other provider, it could be just a couple of models or maybe a brand of phone.

    Have had to call 911 a few times with my various cell phones over the years, none of them did this. All on Alltel/GTE. Most of them Motorola.

  10. TPK says:

    This has to be the dumbest thing ever. This must be fixed and fast, and then widely publicized that it has been resolved.

    The viral e-mails are certainly already on the way, and word of this will quickly spread. Even if they fix it today, I have no doubt that someone, somewhere, will end up dead because of it, either because the phone did make noise and tip off a criminal attacker, or because a user is afraid to dial 911 because of the noise, and will receive no help when it is urgently needed.

    Way to go, Verizon Wireless, it’s a lose-lose!

  11. Miss Anthropy says:

    Now might be a good time to point out that 911 is reserved for actual emergencies. If you are in a safe place and not in immediate danger, please call your local non-emergency line. If, as in a case like this, it appears your house may have been broken into, DO NOT go on to the property; instead, go to a neighbor’s house and call the police from there.

    But I do agree that a 911 alarm on your phone is patently stupid.

  12. Jacquilynne says:

    911 on cell phones is apparently universally stupid. When I tried to dial 911 on my cell phone (LG phone, Telus network, I’m in Canada), it went into ‘emergency mode’ but didn’t actually, you know, *dial* 911. I had to dial it again. Apparently this is to keep me from dialing 911 by accident.

    Which was inconvenient as hell given I was driving down the freeway and calling to report a man drunkenly stumbling into traffic (on a 10 lane divided highway, so seriously in danger of killing himself or causing a major accident). I wasn’t *looking* at my phone, I was trying to drive, so it took me a minute to realize that there was a problem and then try and figure out what to do about it.

    Now, imagine I was reporting my own emergency instead of someone else’s. I’m hurt and bleeding and I pick up the phone to dial 911, and it doesn’t work, and now I have to try and figure out how to make it work (under conditions that are a lot more stressful than just ‘am driving quite quickly on a busy highway and shit, I just missed my exit’). I’m sure it’s important to keep 911 from getting accidental calls, but it seems like they’d probably be better off making sure people could call 911 in the normal way when they need to.

  13. The tone our customer experienced is our interpretation of Section 255 of the Telecommunications Act calling for a provider of telecommunications service to offer service that is accessible and usable by individuals with disabilities.

    All in favor of bullshit, say “I”.

  14. witeowl says:

    @Papa Midnight: Aye.

    I don’t even get how this could possibly be an explanation. Let’s see: a loud noise will help who, exactly? The visually impaired? Nope, they don’t need a noise (unless you’re one of the idiots who talk louder around the blind). The hearing impaired? Sure, make it even harder for them to hear the 911 operator because now they have to contend with the loud alarm. People in wheelchairs? No, now we’re just getting silly.

    Oh, wait, I get it. It’s for the criminals who may be hearing impaired! Why make them listen for the weeping and gnashing of a hiding victim? Give them a nice, loud beacon to hunt down their prey. Got it.

  15. b612markt says:

    My brand new Verizon Samsung sch-u740 doesn’t make loud beeps or an audible alarm. It just makes three little tones and goes into emergency mode.

  16. ivealwaysgotmail10 says:

    Yeah I have sprint, It does go to “emergency mode’ when you dial 911,

    Mine did that, Then kept saying “call failed” “call failed” when there was someone jacking a car on our street, Needless to say when i let sprint know, They finally agreed to swap me out with a different phone.

  17. Buran says:

    How long before someone gets seriously injured by a criminal who finds them because of this crap, and Verizon gets sued for negligence?

  18. timmus says:

    For chrissake, did this phone get even a shred of scrutiny at Verizon headquarters before rolling out of the Chinese factories? Or is the Verizon bureaucracy made up of a bunch of yes-men who rallied behind this “feature”? Everyone I’ve talked to says this is a really stupid and dangerous feature, and I myself have heard 911 calls on TV placed from someone hiding in the house out of fear for their life.

  19. DaWezl says:

    I recently called 911 on a Verizon Chocolate phone, and it didn’t make a loud tone immediately, but it went in to ‘emergency’ mode, and then sent me a confirmation text. When I received the text, the phone buzzed as it would normally for a text message.

  20. JustinAche says:

    An intruder in my house won’t hear a tone going off on my phone…he won’t even hear me cock a shotgun…That’s because it’s already loaded to the max, just needs a safety to be turned off. I don’t have kids in my house, so YMMV.

    Oh, and I have a T-Mobile Sidekick 3, and it does not have “emergency mode”, nor have I heard tones when I had to call the police regarding an accident. So I won’t even have a delay when I call for the corner’s office to come pick up the body (what, you thought I would leave a living person who could sue me?)

  21. rich815 says:

    I called 911 with my Verizon phone a couple months ago, no tone that I noticed. The reason I was calling 911 was I saw flares coming up from the water somewhere under San Francisco Bay Bridge near Yerba Buena Island. I called right at the point. After being on hold for something like 15 minutes (literally, it was rush hour and I was at the bottom of the 9th street off-ramp in SF when someone finally answered!) and after reporting what I saw, was put on hold again, then told that there was a movie crew on the island using flares as part of their filming. Imagine. Good thing no one anywhere near there in SF Bay that day actually needed help and expected anyone to pay attention to any flares! 15 minutes on hold with 911! Good thing no one actually needed help…

  22. I too own a GzOne phone, and besides the fact that it’s a CASIO phone, and can not do 24 hour time, it does make a siren like noise when you dial 911. Recently, I had a 8 point buck smash into the side of my car. Since I didn’t know what town I was in(wasn’t sure where the borders were), I called 911 just in case the deer was still alive, and needed to be put down. I dialed, and along with the noise, it went into “emergency mode”. I got on with the 911 operator, and after explaining what had happened, got into at least a 2 minute discussion about where I was. Now the incident happened here: Here

    There are not many roads around where I was. I know the road I was on, just didn’t know the name of it, or what town I was in. I described it as the main road that cuts through the local state park. In the end, I had to give her three landmarks to figure out the road name, and then walk to a mailbox to get a address. Then, the stupid phone would not go out of “emergency mode” until I specifically made it exit, so I could call my parents. I find it amazing that since I have it set for 911 location, I apparently couldn’t be located. I swear the operator was like surfing google maps to get the road name. Why do I pay for this amazing feature that could save my life, and instead have to almost pull out a sextant, compass, and signal flags to get help where I need it.

  23. @timmus: You think that’s bad? On this Casio phone, which is marketed as water, dust, and impact resistant, you can’t even get 24 hour time. You would think the sort of people who might use this phone might use 24 hour time. Nor does the phone recognize numbers if you put a 1 in front of it. If I have the number in the contacts as 1-xxx-xxx-xxxx, if that person calls, it will just give me the #. Add on to that that if you check the phone status, it lists all of your “missded” calls. Then tack on that it can not figure how to capitalize a letter after a period to start a sentence. My moto e815 was an amazing phone, and if the bluetooth hadn’t died on it, I would still be using it. Verizon is so dumb for putting on their “better” OS on these phones just so their “techs” don;t have to think so hard.

  24. JAYEONE says:

    (making note to never ever buy Verizon phone)

  25. inelegy says:

    They be laughin’ at ya while you’re crawlin’ on your knees
    And to the strength so go the length
    Thinkin’ you are first when you really are tenth
    You better wake up and smell the real flavor
    Cause 911 is a fake life saver

    So get up, get, get get down
    911 is a joke in yo town
    Get up, get, get, get down
    Late 911 wears the late crown

    Ow, ow 911 is a joke

  26. chili_dog says:

    one more reason to not use Verizon. Overpriced and under performing.

    However, I can see completely how this made it onto a handset. Some idiot in R&D thinking that the only reason why you would call 911 is if you needed saving. Totally ignoring the other reasons like being attacked by neer’do wells.

  27. casualweaponry says:

    @Miss Anthropy:

    Sometimes you have to call 911, even if it isn’t an emergency:

    I live in NYC, and a few years some jerk sideswiped my parked car in the middle of the night. No one was hurt I assume, but my car was a little beat up. I had full coverage so it was no biggie, but they still made me call 911 in order to make a police report to give to my insurance company.

    I already felt embarrassed enough calling 911 in the big city about a little fender bender, ’cause I know cops probably have something more important to be doing. But to have a screaming phone on top of that? No thanks.

  28. JKinNYC says:

    @casualweaponry: 311 always redirects me to 911 for things i consider non-emergencies.

  29. Floobtronics says:

    @chili_dog: Indeed. Chalk this up as reason #729 to skip Verizon as a cell carrier.

    I must admit, however, that I have a vzw evdo card. Expensive? Definitely, however, with my employer’s discount on the monthly access, the bill is $48/mo, which in turn gets expensed, etc…

    For evdo, they’re a decent carrier, though their support staff is utterly useless. Right after I got the card, I called them because the card wasn’t properly updating its PRL (preferred roaming list). After 3 days of so-called “Senior Technicians” banging their skulls against the desk, I insisted they swap the card. Plug in the new card, run the activation wizard (for the 50th or so time, 49 of which were on the original card), and surprise! It works.

  30. gamabunta says:

    @casualweaponry: At least your precinct is still willing to file police reports. A few months ago 10+ cars were broken into in my neighborhood and when I called the cops to report it I was told they don’t handle those kinds of things and instead to call my insurance (even though it wasn’t my car.) It took 30+ calls over the course of 10 mins to finally get them to send an officer down.

  31. silvanx says:

    @inelegy: Ah, Public Enemy nostalgia…

    And wouldn’t a loud alarm also hinder the actual call??

  32. EtherealStrife says:

    @JKinNYC: Perhaps, but you should always call 311 for non-emergencies. If it does redirect you, priority is given to the main 911 line.

  33. witeowl says:

    @casualweaponry: WHAT?!? Whoever “they” are, “they” need to be flogged.

    I’ve got the non-emergency numbers for our city’s police and fire departments. Unless someone’s life is in immediate danger, one should not ever call 911.

    Perhaps if more people avoided calling 911 unless a life was endangered, people like rich815 might not sit on hold for fifteen blasted minutes.

  34. hills says:

    The 911 phone alarm reminds me of a convenience store worker here was shot & killed – because when he activated the “silent” alarm when the robbers left it was NOT silent – they immediately came right back in and shot him. Family sued the alarm company and won….but of course in this situation there are no winners…

  35. jsemtp says:

    I guess Verizon must work differently in other places, Where I am at it works fine. I have 5 Verizon phones and all work very well. Mine does not beep on 911 calls. As far as the 911 service, it works well where I am at, it still does not locate people because the govt. doesn’t mandate it to, and they would want more money to do that. The issue has been tried to get a tax passed to finance the dispatch centers to be able to do the location, but gets voted down by taxpayers, so we are partially to blame. Many people are switching to cell phones for the all purpose phone, but they need to keep this in mind that their location will not be sent. Don’t forget to *228 often.

  36. quail says:

    There’s a logical reason for the siren noise for a 911 call. If the dialer is having a medical emergency and goes unconscious paramedics have a chance of locating the victim with the siren going off.

    But like decent ideas it fails in that it can’t be canceled before making the 911 call. It’s a little like those always on headlights. Yes. They reduce accidents but give the car owner his due and allow him to turn those suckers off when necessary — drive-thru light displays, parking on lover’s lane on cold nights, etc.

  37. casualweaponry says:

    I did call 311, and the local precinct, and they both directed me to call 911.

    I was sooooo apologetic on the phone it wasn’t even funny; I felt really bad at the time, but the cops who responded said it was proper procedure at the time.

  38. legotech says:

    I was a 9-1-1 dispatcher for a few years…I never minded the non emergency people who would say “its not an emergency I didn’t have the other number” its the asshat calling 9-1-1 and demanding we send a cop over to make their daughter do her homework.

    (yes, it happened, and yes, they got a cop, in fact, they got the shift commander…to explain to the FATHER what 9-1-1 was for)

    My all time favorite has to be the woman who called to report that her roomate stole her stash of crack and she wanted a report. She also got an officer :)

  39. Rob says:

    Two things…

    1. My mother used to have an LG phone on AT&T Wireless (not AT&T Mobility or whatever its called now) and if you dialed 911 it would go into “Emergency Mode” and then would play a loud siren and cause the phones to flash red. Very, very annoying if you are trying to report something without someone else knowing.

    2. My old phone on AT&T Wireless/Cingular had a horrible problem with connecting calls(About 1/8 calls went through) and also enjoyed dropping calls right after they connected, needless to say the last time I used that phone I was trying to call 911 because I saw someone being attacked, wonderfully I only had to dial 911 eleven times to get through to an operator where the phone promptly hung up on them. The operator called me back and I was able to convey my message to them. The phone then went into an emergency mode and refused to go out of it for another hour. Awesome.

  40. TeraGram says:

    @Miss Anthropy:

    Except that’s not always true.

    If you dial the ‘non emergency’ phone number for the Carpinteria Police department (which, fwiw, is actually outsourced to Santa Barbara County) you will get a message that says “if it is after hours, please call 911″. So, if you want to talk to a cop, emergency or not, in Carpinteria and other Santa Barbara County communities, you dial 911 emergency or not.

  41. TMurphy says:

    @quail:
    That was exactly the point I was going to make. I see the use for this, but it should be something you can select to have when you call, or perhaps the 911 operator can activate it as necessary.

    An automatic alarm is certainly dangerous, and Verizon should be penalized for putting people at risk like this. Any 911 feature should go through government regulation, or at least must be certified, I think.

  42. Sidecutter says:

    You know, I’m not thrilled that this will handily give away your location to anyone you might be trying to escape while calling for help. But even worse…what if your someplace, need help, try to dial 911 and this starts up? Can it be *stopped*? If you can;t charge your phone handily, and can’t get a signal the first try, this would possibly drain the battery very quickly running a loud alarm over the speaker. Then you die.

  43. Eilonwynn says:

    @Jacquilynne: When we had to dial 911 last year, an LG 4600 on telus, it dialed right away. If i was you, i’d phone telus and raise holy hell.

  44. stevebmd says:

    I find it somewhat shocking that many of those who have posted have actually used 911. It might just be a product of my upbringing, but I always thought 911 was for life-threatening emergencies.

  45. pengie says:

    @stevebmd: Because none of these posters have been through life-threatening emergencies?

  46. Buran says:

    @pengie: Thank you for assuming I didn’t accidentally inflict myself with a severe glass cut that most certainly DID require emergency help. Why don’t you just shut up and not make stupid assumptions?

  47. MonkeySwitch says:

    This is so absurd. My friend was robbed at gunpoint last summer while her and her 3 friends were hanging out on her porch. She managed to grab the phone and escape while the robber was forcing her friends to lay face down in the grass and empty their pockets. She had to hide under an SUV and call 911. Had her phone made any sort of loud noise, she would have been dead.

  48. witeowl says:

    @Buran: Whoops Buran, attacking the wrong poster there. Pretty brutally, too.

    @stevebmd: Let’s examine each of my 911 calls:
    - man in the back of my taxi beating his girlfriend
    - fire on the mountain
    - fire on the street corner
    - car fire on the side of the freeway (two of those)
    - father cut off the tip of his finger and then fainted (shock)
    - father passed out in a way which looked like stroke (eyes open, unresponsive)

    Pray tell: which of these was not a life-threatening emergency?

  49. @quail: The phone doesn’t make a continuous siren noise, so it has NO impact on helping paramedics find you should you go unconscious. It makes the noise when you dial. The person in the article could have been found out when they made the initial call, and then again with the second call. It is a completely stupid to have a noise play over the main speaker. If they could perhaps limit it to the earpiece, so that you could hear it within arms length, then it would be better. When mine did it, it kind of scared me.

  50. cde says:

    @Buran: And you just made a stupid assumption about someone else.

  51. @stevebmd: Steve, the only reason I dialed 911 was because I didn’t know where I was. I had an animal hit my vehicle and it could have been suffering. I would love to have had the local PD number to call, but I didn’t know which town I was in. ALL my cellphones have always had the local PD’s non-emergency dispatch numbers programmed in, and I call them if there is something they need to address like a stuck railroad crossing or some kids getting rowdy at the high school across the street.

  52. Crim Law Geek says:

    I lived in Pittsburgh and kept getting harassed over the phone by an MCI telemarketer. When I called the precinct to ask for an officer to take a harassment report, they told me to call 911. I did and got the officer a few minutes later. A year or so after that I got into a car accident (in front of a Pittsburgh Police station), and when I called 911, I was told officers don’t go to traffic accidents unless a car is un-drivable, someone is injured, or I suspected a drunk driver.

  53. Crim Law Geek says:

    I also used to call Pittsburgh 911 (I was an EMT and CMU and we had to call 911 to get a city ambulance on the scene) and my phone went into “emergency mode” for a while, but didn’t make any kind of alarm other than a few soft (and downright pleasant) tones when I hit “send”. Haven’t tried it on my LG VX-8700 yet.

  54. xJake says:

    My sister called 911 a couple weeks ago from her Verizon cell phone to report a downed tree in the road, and her phone made that tone, and when I heard it, I thought a this very situation. I’m curious if the phone makes the tone when it’s on silent or vibrate. Regardless, this should not happen.

  55. bonzombiekitty says:

    @jsemtp: If you are in the US, the government DOES mandate that Verizon be able to locate your cell phone when you dial 911. In my experience, however, Verizon doesn’t do a very good job at it. But then again, I am a little bit biased.

  56. FLConsumer says:

    @stevebmd:
    Let me think of the things I’ve called 911 for:
    1) traffic accidents, especially the ones where some asshole was driving 65mph in a 45mph zone and slams full speed into cars stopped at a traffic light
    2) Heart attack
    3) Child w/no prior hx of seizures having a seizure
    4) Drunk driver almost creaming 2 other cars
    5) More drunk drivers
    6) Burglary in process

    Maybe you should get out more. Quite a few life-endangering things happen.

  57. vastrightwing says:

    With Verizon’s propensity to burn down houses on installations, it’s amazing they didn’t program the phone to catch on fire and become a flare when dialing 9-1-1

  58. vanilla-fro says:

    @inelegy: Awesome.

    It is pretty stupid for the phone to make any noise after you dial 911. But is it also possible that the tone the writer heard wasn’t as loud as she thought but more like the lower tones other commenters have reported?

  59. JustinAche says:

    @stevebmd: I got hit by a car….on my motorcycle! I consider that an emergency.

  60. Eilonwynn says:

    @stevebmd: The first time I called 911 it was because i was passing a car on the highway with 10′ flames coming from under the hood. The second time, I had a guy wipe out on his motorcycle right in front of me. I’m *pretty sure* that with all the blood and stuff, it was life threatening. But maybe there’s an authoritative book which specifically states what is lifethreatening and what isn’t? Honestly, I’d rather phone and be told that someone’s already on their way (because someone else has also called), than not call at all.

  61. Can we have a Dumbest Idea Ever award? This doesn’t elevate them to the Worst Company but this could possibly be the dumbest single idea a company’s had all year.

    @vanilla-fro: I guess but why wouldn’t the Verizon rep have said so?

  62. @stevebmd: With the way people drive I’m surprised I haven’t ever had to call 911.

  63. cashmerewhore says:

    my LG8600 plays alil jingle when you dial 911. not extremely loud.

    i think it even plays it when the phone is on silent (my husband has the same phone and i had him dial 911 when we watched a car smash into the concrete divider on the freeway).

  64. ColdNorth says:

    @cashmerewhore: It plays a jingle?

    If someone is in an emergency situation, do they really want to hear a catchy tune to let them know they sent a 911 call?

    Who designs these things anyway? Douglas Adams must be smirking in his grave.

  65. @vanilla-fro: If you click on the link to the article, you can watch the story video where they play the siren/klaxon noise. It’s loud. Especially since the Gz-one has a fairly large external speaker.

  66. pengie says:

    @Buran: Everybody else has already pointed out your mistake, but LOLLLLLLL.

  67. Landru says:

    While I think this is a dumb idea, I suspect the original logic might have been to let people know that the telephone in their purse or pocket has dialed 911 accidentally. I remember hearing that those calls are part of the reason for the fifteen minute waits.

  68. Buran says:

    @pengie: Oh really? Seems like the half-assed stupid remark does plenty of saying what little thought went through the comment I replied to.

    I bet you feel all mighty and powerful for acting like a jerk too huh?

  69. doireallyneedausername says:

    @rich815:

    15 minutes is definitely not unheard of in the Bay Area. All cell 911 calls in the bay go to Vallejo CHP dispatch, and that’s a long painful queue to get through. If you’re within SF city limits and your 911 call is placed on a tower firmly in the city (not near a highway), your call gets directed to SFPD. Nifty.

    I once called for a CHP officer after I got into an accident, and it took longer to get through to dispatch than the time it took for the officer to get there. That’s why I always have every local/municipal emergency and non-emergency phone number programed into the phone if there’s an emergency that happens to be in a local area.

    Having those numbers was a definite a lifesaver when a bunch of vandals/thieves were breaking into homes in my neighborhood at 3am one night and speeding through the streets between 60-100mph in a normal 25-40mph zone. I just happened to be coming back from a night out and pulled in as it was happening. I followed them and called 911 on my cell, only to be placed on hold for the “next available operator.”

    Instead, I hung up and called our county sheriff’s dispatch center directly. Instant connection with a live person and no less than 4 sheriff cars showed up within minutes.

    Back to the topic at hand. I think the loud tones emitted after dialing 911 is another stupid misstep for Verizon. Yes, they were probably airing on the side of caution. But previous posters and the linked story was correct…its a public safety hazard if you’re trying to silently call 911. When was the last time you were able to “get to a safe place” AND THEN dial 911. C’mon, if we need the po-po, we need them now!

  70. hinten says:

    You know of all the things to bitch about Verizon this is not one of them.
    I can hardly believe they made this up just for the fun of it. They got a paragraph of laws and rules from congress. Paragraph is unclear on the actual implementation (unheard of, right?). Verizon goes ahead and interprets it the best they can; turns out the paragraph written by Congress and Verizon’s interpretation both suck.
    Imagine the consequences if Verizon would just ignore whatever Congress sends their way.

    Just saying…

  71. theblackdog says:

    I hope Verizon allows this to be disabled. I’m sure that the person who was trying to shoot someone outside of my old apartment building would have just loved to know which apartments were dialing the cops (Open window on a summer night) so that the residents would be silenced so there were no witnesses.

  72. She grabbed her new Casio G’zOne phone from Verizon Wireless, which to her horror made an audible alarm when she called 911.

    The “G’zOne” is a horrible name for a phone. Just sayin’…

  73. cashmerewhore says:

    @ColdNorth:

    Good karma/luck jingle? Heck, I dunno. I’m 99% positive his phone did the same thing mine did, and it was on vibrate. There are two settings beyond vibrate (alarm only and silent), perhaps it won’t chime on those. Next time I need to call 911 I’ll check it….

  74. GW2K says:

    The Moto Q does this as well. Not good at all.

  75. pengie says:

    @Buran: Dude, chill. You made a mistake. I had a chortle at it. Big whoop.

    Back on topic, hopefully Verizon is able to offer some new firmware or something of the sort that will allow this feature to be disabled. I can see how it may be useful (as a previous commenter pointed out, possibly allowing rescuers to locate the person in trouble), but most people will probably want to disable it. Here’s hoping they respond appropriately–I was considering switching to them when my AT&T contract expires in two months.

  76. Buran says:

    @pengie: I’m not a dude, and I laugh at your “I gotta be on my high horse” BS. Thanks for making another assumption and getting THAT wrong.

  77. UpsetPanda says:

    Okay, I don’t think anyone has asked this, so I will…does it make the ton if the volume is off? I keep my phone on vibrate when I’m at work, and most of the time, I forget to turn the volume back on when I get home. I’m not going to call 911 for the sake of testing out my thought, but I’m wondering if anyone knows the answer.

  78. UpsetPanda says:

    ton = tone

    Apologies to the spelling gods.

  79. Tzepish says:

    T-Mobile charged me $0.75 for dailing 911. I guess that’s better than a loudass siren going off.

  80. Her Grace says:

    @Buran: Look, I realize it’s too late now, because you’ve already embarassed yourself. But what Pengie said that you got so huffy about is called “sarcasm” and he was using it to mock stevebmd. You are making yourself look dumb. Please. Stop.

  81. witeowl says:

    @Her Grace: I normally despise “++” comments. But…

    ++

  82. augustawind says:

    I’m glad that someone brought this topic up. I have a Motorola Q with Verizon, and a few weeks ago I had to call 911. The condo building I live in has been broken into several times in the last few months, including my own unit, by people who case the joint during the day and wait for people to leave for work. I called 911 on one such loiterer, while I was standing outside and my phone made that same loud tone, right in my ear, which scared the crap out of me. I remember thinking it was a good thing I wasn’t not in my house trying to call 911 and hide from a burglar!

  83. jydesign says:

    Wow, I have that exact phone model. Unfortunately, I recently had to call 911 using this phone, because I had witnessed a biker collide with a car (all were OK). When I called, the custom 911 screen display and loud ‘alarm’ were a bit startling, but I didn’t pay much attention to it as I was focused on the situation. I hadn’t even considered the possible negative consequence of having a phone blare at you when trying to report an emergency, where stealth would be desired. There’s no apparent way to turn this off in the user manual or by digging in the menus, sigh…

  84. Buzz Lightyear says:

    @Tzepish: Calls to 9-1-1 are free. However, you are probably seeing the monthly Wireless 9-1-1 Surcharge or Fee which is charged on every wireless/landline telephone.