HAGERSTOWN, Md. (DC News Now) — 911 hang-up calls are a national concern and a challenge for local law enforcement as well.

Authorities say that many are accidental or the result of so-called “butt-dialing,” and often the problem is the result of features on your mobile phone designed to make the 911 number easily accessible.  Law enforcement investigates each of these accidental calls. It is a time-consuming task. But there are circumstances where responding to such calls has saved lives. For instance, a family calling to report a house fire panicked and hung up. Authorities arrived in time to rescue them.  

“We end up getting out there and someone was requiring some sort of – whether it was police or ems intervention.  It takes time to go through that and check those calls out and make sure it wasn’t an actual somebody needed us,” said Sgt. Carly Hose with the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.

In Washington County alone over the past 8 months, there were more than 68,000 accidental 911 calls.