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Your old cellphone isn’t a toy, plus: tips for emergencies

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(Photo by Jaskarn SH SD - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=64758740)

Several times each week, area first responders are dispatched on calls when children dial 911 from disconnected cellphones.

By law, phone carriers must allow these calls to go through. This allows people whose service has been disconnected a way to call for help.

Unfortunately, many people give their old phones to children to play games or use as a toy. Remember: If they dial 911 on your old phone, you could get a visit from law enforcement and be held responsible for a false alarm.

Here are some tips on using cellphones in an emergency:

Use a landline if possible. Cellphones can’t accurately pinpoint your location. FCC rules require nationwide carriers to provide tracking capabilities to 911 dispatchers that are accurate within 50-300 meters (164 to 984 feet), depending on the technology the carrier uses.

That could mean up to a 984-foot radius (not quite three times the length of a football field), which could result in a difficult search in high-density areas. FCC rules also allow up to six minutes to determine a location. If you can imagine how far a car can travel in six minutes, you’ll see how that could be problematic.

Recent updates to Android and iPhone operating systems have improved smartphones’ ability to automatically share exact locations with emergency dispatchers, but this technology doesn’t cover older or non-smart phones.

If you call 911 from a cellphone and hang up, operators will attempt to return your call to follow up. If they can’t retrieve your number, they are likely to send an officer to your estimated location, which may not be accurate.

If you do use a cellphone to call 911:

  • Provide your location as near as you are able and the type of assistance you need.
  • Try to stay calm and speak clearly.

If you need to call 911, you can use any smartphone even if you can’t unlock it. Here’s how:

  • Press the home button to launch the screen that asks for a passcode or fingerprint.
  • In the bottom lower left of the screen, tap “Emergency”
  • Dial 911

In some areas, you can text 911. Hinds county added the service in 2015. If you think you might need to text 911, contact the local police department to see if the service is provided.

Smart speakers, such as Amazon Alexa or Google Home cannot call 911, but iPhone’s Siri and Android’s Google can. Check with your carrier or vendor to see if you have tie-in options for your home system.

 

Events

Annual Christmas Parade of Lights canceled

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Vicksburg Christmas Parade 2019

Vicksburg Main Street has announced that the annual Christmas Parade of Lights scheduled for Dec. 5 has been canceled.

Applications to participate in the parade, themed “Frozen in Time,” were due today.

Instead of the parade, Vicksburg Main Street is “reimagining” the event, substituting several smaller events to celebrate Christmas in Vicksburg.

  1. “This is an unusual year and we certainly want everyone to have a safe holiday,” said Board President Christi Kilroy. ” These well-thought-out changes were made to protect the people who visit downtown. The board and staff have done everything they can to keep the downtown
    experience festive and fun for the holidays.”

Vicksburg Christmas events include:

  • Friday, Nov. 27, live music at 5:30 p.m. and City of Vicksburg Tree Lighting at 6 p.m. – Santa will be present
  • Friday, Nov. 27 through Sunday, Dec. 27 – Christmas in the Park- Make plans to see all the Christmas lights and decorations at Washington Street Park
  • Saturday, Nov. 28, All Day – Small Business Saturday
  • Sunday, Nov. 29, 1 to 5 p.m.- Old Fashion Holiday Open House. Shoppers who spend $25 or more will receive a poinsettia from the Vicksburg Main Street Program. Santa will be strolling Washington Street and available for pictures – bring your camera!
  • Saturday, Dec. 5, 8 a.m. Reindeer Run at Catfish Row
  • Saturday, Dec. 5, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Levee Street Marketplace Christmas Open House
  • Sunday, Dec. 6, 3 to 8 p.m., Southern Cultural Heritage Foundation Kids in the Kitchen Christmas
  • Saturday, Dec. 12, 8 a.m.-10 a.m. Vicksburg Convention Center’s Breakfast with Santa
  • Saturday, Dec. 12, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Bella la Vita Photography Toys for Tots Toy Drive
  • Saturday, Dec. 12, 2 to 6 p.m., Second Saturday
  • Sunday, Dec. 13-12:30 p.m. Vicksburg Convention Center’s Holiday Jazz Brunch “Miracle on Swing Street”

Vicksburg’s Main Street organization appreciates the public’s support in the redesign of this year’s celebration and hopes that each and every citizen will visit the festive downtown area this holiday season to support our merchants, restaurants and businesses. The board and staff of Vicksburg Main Street remains committed to growing the economic vitality of our downtown and community.

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Crime

Overnight Battlefield Discount Drugs burglary one of two

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Photo by David Day

Battlefield Discount Drugs on Indiana Avenue was the site of a break-in and robbery around 9:23 p.m. Tuesday.

According to Vicksburg police, the suspects are two males. The duo reportedly stole an unknown amount of codeine and left the scene in a grey SUV or van.

According to owner John Storey, a Vicksburg police officer’s daughter happened to observe the robbery from the gas station up the hill.  She went to a safe location to call her father, who immediately dispatched officers to the scene and then called Storey to alert him as well.

“That’s a community,” Storey said. “I cannot say enough good things about this community and our Vicksburg Police Department.”

Police in Flowood, Mississippi, also reported a pharmacy break-in last night. The two male suspects left in a grey Dodge Caravan with Arizona tags believed to be a rental vehicle.

Police are working under the assumption that the two incidents are related.

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Crime

Shooting at Waffle House early Wednesday

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Image from stock file (by David Day)

At around 2:13 a.m. Wednesday, an argument at the North Frontage Road Waffle House in Vicksburg resulted in a shooting.

photo by David Day

A Waffle House employee got into an argument with a customer. When the employee left the Waffle House, their vehicle was shot at and struck one time.

The victim drove the vehicle to the Waffle House on Clay Street and called 911 to report the incident. When Vicksburg Police responded to the call, they found shell casings at the North Frontage Waffle House.

Reportedly, Vicksburg police are looking for a black male subject.

No one was injured as a result of this incident.

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