Cell Phones Without Coverage Plans Can Still Call 9-1-1...Crime - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Cell Phones Without Coverage Plans Can Still Call 9-1-1...Crime Tracker Kalae Chock Tells Us That's Good And Bad

Posted: Updated:

KHQ'S KALAE CHOCK: Even cell phones that don't have a coverage plan can call 911. They're called uninitialized phones.  Even if it is not activated, it can call 911if the phone has power. The Spokane County Call Center says to keep this in mind if you give your old phone to your young child to use as a toy. They say it's important to take out the battery so that your child doesn't accidentally call 911. 

The call center says the uninitialized phones can be used for good even though they come with limitations. Domestic violence advocates give the phones to victims in abusive relationships.  Some parents have also trusted older children to carry the phones in case they need to call 911 in an emergency.

However, uninitialized phones also come with limitations.  911 operators can't trace the call. The operator will only be able to trace the call to the nearest cell phone tower. In real emergencies, the center can get help from the cell provider in triangulating the call between three towers to get a better location. However, it requires time, which is precious in emergency situations. There is also no way for the operator to call back because the phone isn't linked to a phone number.

Last year, the call center received 19,895 hang-up calls. They say there's no way to determine if the hang-ups came from uninitialized phones, but they say hang-ups were the second most common type of call the center received. Medical calls were number one.

  • Top Stories from KHQTop StoriesMore>>

  • UPDATE: Suspect In Custody After Stealing Sheriff's Patrol Car

    UPDATE: Suspect In Custody After Stealing Sheriff's Patrol Car

    Thursday, April 24 2014 11:04 PM EDT2014-04-25 03:04:39 GMT
    A man stole a Sheriff Deputy's patrol car after a failed attempt to steal another car near 57th and RegalA man stole a Sheriff Deputy's patrol car after a failed attempt to steal another car near 57th and Regal
    SPOKANE, Wash. - Spokane County Sheriff's Deputies, including Air-1, were searching for a man who stole one of their patrol cars Thursday evening near 57th and Regal. More >>
    SPOKANE, Wash. - Spokane County Sheriff's Deputies, including Air-1, were searching for a man who stole one of their patrol cars Thursday evening near 57th and Regal. It all began after a man came out of the McKenzie River Pizza to find someone trying to steal his car. The owner of the car tried to stop the thief, and the thief actually pepper sprayed him. A Sheriff's deputy showed up and somehow the thief ended up stealing the deputy's car.More >>
  • Bar Bouncer Shot, Says Suspects Were There To Make Trouble

    Bar Bouncer Shot, Says Suspects Were There To Make Trouble

    Thursday, April 24 2014 6:37 PM EDT2014-04-24 22:37:44 GMT
    SPOKANE, Wash. - KHQ's Dylan Wohlenhaus spoke with the 44-year-old bouncer Todd Stone. Stone says that he's worked at Lions Lair bar for two and a half years and has never had a "bruise" or a "scratch" from dealing with unruly patrons in his time working there. Thursday morning was different he says. More >>
    SPOKANE, Wash. - KHQ's Dylan Wohlenhaus spoke with the 44-year-old bouncer Todd Stone. Stone says that he's worked at Lions Lair bar for two and a half years and has never had a "bruise" or a "scratch" from dealing with unruly patrons in his time working there. Thursday morning was different he says. More >>
  • WA State Loses $40 Million In Education Funds For Failing To Meet A Federal Government Requirement

    WA State Loses $40 Million In Education Funds For Failing To Meet A Federal Government Requirement

    Thursday, April 24 2014 5:57 PM EDT2014-04-24 21:57:33 GMT
    SEATTLE (AP) - Washington state has lost its education accountability waiver from the federal government. State education officials say they received an email on Thursday saying they were losing the waiver because the state did not meet the U.S. Department of Education's requirement to include statewide student test results in teacher evaluations.More >>
    SEATTLE (AP) - Washington state has lost its education accountability waiver from the federal government. State education officials say they received an email on Thursday saying they were losing the waiver because the state did not meet the U.S. Department of Education's requirement to include statewide student test results in teacher evaluations.
    More >>
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KHQ. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.