The vast majority of emergency calls in the Bailiwick of Guernsey are made by mistake, the call centre that answers them has revealed.
More than 30,000 calls were made to 999 or 112 in the year leading up to March 2010, but 83% were not calls for help.
Jacqui Hamblin, the head of Cable & Wireless's 24-hour Contact Centre, said people needed to know the implications of mis-dialling.
She said: "Mis-dials could hinder a real emergency getting through to us."
She said the centre received an emergency call, on average, every 17 minutes and the majority of the non-emergency calls were mis-dials or silent calls, where typically a mobile phone dials the number when in somebody's pocket.
Ms Hamblin said only a very small proportion was malicious misuse of the number, but in some cases, where there was no caller on the end of the line, for example, operators had to stay on the line in an attempt to gauge whether the caller was in distress and unable to speak.