Cell Phones Without Coverage Plans Can Still Call 9-1-1...Crime - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

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.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Remembering Beau Weiher: Montana man dies in Glacier National Park

    Remembering Beau Weiher: Montana man dies in Glacier National Park

    Monday, September 15 2014 5:01 PM EDT2014-09-15 21:01:41 GMT
    WEST GLACIER, Mont. (AP) - A 22-year-old Montana man has died, possibly after attempting an illegal BASE jump in Glacier National Park. The National Park Service was notified at Saturday night that Beau Weiher, of Missoula, was overdue from a solo day hike in the Many Glacier Area.>>
    WEST GLACIER, Mont. (AP) - A 22-year-old Montana man has died, possibly after attempting an illegal BASE jump in Glacier National Park. The National Park Service was notified at Saturday night that Beau Weiher, of Missoula, was overdue from a solo day hike in the Many Glacier Area.>>
  • First date ends with man dead, woman hospitalized

    First date ends with man dead, woman hospitalized

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 9:44 AM EDT2014-09-16 13:44:21 GMT
    TACOMA, Wash. (AP) - Pierce County sheriff's detectives know this much: a first date ended with a Gig Harbor, Washington, man dead and his date hospitalized in critical condition.The News Tribune reports that investigators think the 47-year-old Port Orchard woman ran over her date, then crashed his truck 15 feet down an embankment.>>
    TACOMA, Wash. (AP) - Pierce County sheriff's detectives know this much: a first date ended with a Gig Harbor, Washington, man dead and his date hospitalized in critical condition.The News Tribune reports that investigators think the 47-year-old Port Orchard woman ran over her date, then crashed his truck 15 feet down an embankment.
    >>
  • WATCH: Rarely seen 9/11 Budweiser commercial that aired only once

    WATCH: Rarely seen 9/11 Budweiser commercial that aired only once

    Thursday, September 11 2014 8:52 PM EDT2014-09-12 00:52:54 GMT
    KHQ.COM - This Budweiser commercial was produced after the September 11th terrorist attacks. However, it hasn't been widely seen because Budweiser only aired it once so as not to benefit financially from it - they just wanted to acknowledge the tragic event.>>
    KHQ.COM - This Budweiser commercial was produced after the September 11th terrorist attacks. However, it hasn't been widely seen because Budweiser only aired it once so as not to benefit financially from it - they just wanted to acknowledge the tragic event.>>
  • Top Stories from KHQTop StoriesMore>>

  • Spokane Police: Bullying video allegedly from Spokane is actually from New York

    Spokane Police: Bullying video allegedly from Spokane is actually from New York

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 3:40 PM EDT2014-09-16 19:40:08 GMT
    KHQ.COM - A video bullying video surfaced on a Spokane news organization's Facebook page on September 13th. The video shows a girl getting attacked by bullies and she looks to be in middle school or high school. The person who uploaded the video to the page had the profile name, "Stephen Burbank."
    >>
    KHQ.COM - A video bullying video surfaced on a Spokane news organization's Facebook page on September 13th. The video shows a girl getting attacked by bullies and she looks to be in middle school or high school. The person who uploaded the video to the page had the profile name, "Stephen Burbank."
    >>
  • $1.5M grant to help communities hurt by Oso slide

    $1.5M grant to help communities hurt by Oso slide

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 2:03 PM EDT2014-09-16 18:03:56 GMT
    DARRINGTON, Wash. (AP) - A $1.5 million grant is on the way to help communities recover from the devastating Oso landslide in March. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is providing the money, and Snohomish County is putting together a plan for spending it.>>
    DARRINGTON, Wash. (AP) - A $1.5 million grant is on the way to help communities recover from the devastating Oso landslide in March. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is providing the money, and Snohomish County is putting together a plan for spending it.
    >>
  • Action Cam: Spokane Civic Theatre's 'Fiddler on the Roof' Debuts Friday!

    Action Cam: Spokane Civic Theatre's 'Fiddler on the Roof' Debuts Friday!

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 12:19 PM EDT2014-09-16 16:19:11 GMT
    Civic Theatre's "Fiddler on the Roof"Civic Theatre's "Fiddler on the Roof"
    SPOKANE, Wash - This timeless musical magically weaves the story of a people steeped in tradition who must come to terms with a changing world. Fiddler has captured the hearts of people all around the world for fifty years with its moving score including “Matchmaker, Matchmaker”, “If I Were a Rich Man”, and “Sunrise, Sunset”. Winner of nine Tony Awards.The opening show, on Friday, September 19 will be held in conjunction with the Civic Theatre's 68th Annual Gala!>>
    SPOKANE, Wash - This timeless musical magically weaves the story of a people steeped in tradition who must come to terms with a changing world. Fiddler has captured the hearts of people all around the world for fifty years with its moving score including “Matchmaker, Matchmaker”, “If I Were a Rich Man”, and “Sunrise, Sunset”. Winner of nine Tony Awards.The opening show, on Friday, September 19 will be held in conjunction with the Civic Theatre's 68th Annual Gala!>>