Non-Service Initialized Wireless Phones

Non-service initialized phones are wireless phones that are not activated for normal calling service, but do have the capability of dialing 9-1-1. Even though the caller can reach a 9-1-1 answering point, their location and phone number will not be displayed on the call­-taker's screen. Only a notation of "wireless caller" will appear. This means that the caller must be able to verbally state their location in order to get help.

If the caller is unable to speak, the 9-1-1 call­-taker will not know where they are or what the problem is. And without a call-back number, the call-­taker will not be able to contact the wireless service provider for customer records such as a home address or telephone number.

Various organizations are sponsoring donate­-a-­phone projects in which wireless phones are collected and distributed to elderly citizens, victims of domestic violence and other groups who may need to call 9-1-1 in an emergency. These phones are not activated for normal service, which means they are unable to receive incoming calls or make outgoing calls, except to 9-1-1. However, any wireless phone that has not been activated on a calling plan can still be used to dial 9-1-1. These would be considered on-service initialized phones as well, because no address or phone number will be delivered to the 9-1-1 call-­taker's screen. These phones only provide the caller with the ability to have a voice conversation with the 9-1-1 operator.

 What to remember if you have a non-service initialized wireless phone

  • If possible, use a landline phone instead of an non-service initialized wireless phone to call 9-1-1. A landline phone should automatically provide the 9-1-1 call­-taker with the exact location and phone number you're calling from.
  • Become familiar with your wireless phone and know how to use it.
  • Always be aware of your location and surroundings so you can verbally advise the call-taker where you are.
  • Give the call-­taker your location first. Should your call somehow be disconnected, the call-­taker will at least have a location to send emergency responders.
  • If disconnected, call 9-1-1 again and advise you were disconnected.
  • Keep your phone battery charged. If your battery runs out and you get disconnected from 9-1-1, the call-­taker will have no way of knowing your location or call­-back number if you've called from an non-service initialized phone.
  • Be prepared to act upon any instructions the 9-1-1 call­-taker gives you.
  • Do not hang up until told to do so.