With over 2 million phones being deactivated as AT&T replaces all those Alltel (and other) CDMA phones with GSM phones, there are a lot of handsets hitting the junk drawer. Public safety agencies report a rash of 911 calls from newly-deactivated Alltel phones that have been randomly-dialed by kids. How do they know? Every 911 call must be followed up by a visit by a police officer, if they can find the the source of the call...most often they can't.
Most wireless users do not know that a deactivated phone can still call 911. The only exceptions are analog and TDMA phones. Even phones that show "No Service" or "Invalid SIM" can still make the call.
Do a Green thing and use or properly dispose your of old phones. We have a whole list of ideas on our Old Phones Page. Could you believe what you do can be a matter of life and death? If police are bogged down by following up accidental calls, someone needing legitimate help may be delayed. Even worse, public safety agencies may become complacent about following up wireless calls. This can be a real hangup as we increase using wireless as our only phone.