A prank call is when someone calls 911 for a joke, or calls 911 and hangs up. Prank calls not only waste time and money, but can also be dangerous. If 911 lines or call takers are busy with prank calls, someone with a real emergency may not be able to get the help they need. Remember, in most places, it’s against the law to make prank 911 calls.
Most accidental calls are considered just that, accidental. In most cases, 911 dispatchers will make an attempt to recontact the caller to ensure there is no real emergency. There have been times when a phone repeatedly dials 911 tying up valuable resources just like prank calls. Even when accidental it is treated very seriously. Callers will be provided an opportunity to correct the situation but there are laws in place similar to those against making prank calls.
If you know your phone is malfunctioning and calling 911 repeatedly some simple steps may clear up the problem. For cell phones simply turning it off and waiting for approximately 1 minute before powering it back on will clear it up. Land lines may be disconnected at the phone, waiting for a few moments, the reconnected. If the problem persists callers must contact their phone provider for a repair.