Dukes County Sheriff Robert Ogden is sounding the alarm on accidental 911 calls. The county's regional emergency communication center, which processes all 911 calls on Martha's Vineyard, has been averaging 18 such calls a day this summer and received 60 a day over the weekend of July 18-19, according to an announcement from the sheriff's office.

"Sheriff Ogden asks the residents and visitors of our community to consider taking precautionary measures," the announcement continues. "Accidental calls to 911 are burdensome on our law enforcement agencies, taking time away from true emergencies and tying up resources; particularly during the busy summer season.

Smartphone and smart device technology may be one reason for the increase in the already significant daily accidental call volume, according to the sheriff's office, which recommends several options to prevent accidental calls:

  • Lock devices before putting them in a pocket or bag
  • Stow devices safely during physical activity (many devices have 911 auto-dial features that are triggered upon impact)
  • Keep devices out of the hands of young children, and consider the option of disabling 911 auto-dial features for devices misdialing frequently.

In the event of a misdial, callers are asked to remain on the line so the communications center can screen the call and make sure the caller is safe.

The Martha's Vineyard Law Enforcement Council has created a tutorial for preventing accidental emergency calls. It can be viewed at dukescountysheriff.com/recc.