There’s a new prank circulating across social media and this one may have a negative impact on Minnesota 911 dispatch centers. Posts are encouraging people to say the numbers 1-0-8 to Siri. But doing so will call 9-1-1.The prank has hit Minnesota with a confirmed case in Blue Earth County. 108 is the emergency number in India, but on Apple devices, it will translate it to 911 in the United States. This is a dangerous prank that could potentially and quickly overwhelm a 911 center, especially a small one, preventing legitimate calls from getting through.This news story from North Carolina explains how the prank works.
Minnesota’s public alert system, known as IPAWS (Integrated Public Alert and Warning System), recently reached a five year milestone. The Statewide Emergency Communications Board committee, tasked with establishing policies, procedures and protocols for IPAWS, honored five of the founding members this month. IPAWS can be used by local and state authorities to send warnings and alerts to the public about safety threats, including:
IPAWS messages can be delivered in a variety of ways, including through the Emergency Alert System (EAS) on radio and TV stations and via cell phone using Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA). Sixty-two of Minnesota’s 87 counties have the capability to send an IPAWS message.
When an emergency happens in Minnesota, communication between public safety personnel is key. That is why those on the front lines go through many hours of course and field training to get certified. The Statewide Emergency Communication Board (SECB) today recognized four people who completed Communications Leader and Communications Technician training using land mobile radios (LMR), broadband wireless systems and telephone systems. The communication is used during emergency incidents so first responders can quickly send and receive important information. These recipients could be called upon by local jurisdictions or an incident commander to provide leadership and technical skills as they relate to public safety communications. Today’s recipients are: