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)