Emergency centres receiving more than 20 automated calls a day
The Pitkin County 911 Center of Colorado gets almost 15 to 20 automated emergency calls triggered because of iPhone 14’s crash detection feature. Similarly, Grand Country reports around 20 to 30 of these calls a day, which have been “problematic and time-consuming,” for the centre, as no real emergency has come so far – there were just skiers who stopped abruptly, not met any accident, or needed any medical attention.
Let us say someone with an iPhone 14 has met an accident – the iPhone senses the crash, then dials 911. The 911 centre then calls back to the iPhone, and if the call is not picked up, emergency vehicles are sent, considering there has been an accident. Apple says that crash detection only works when in the car, but it has not been working like that.
911 centres overworked with false alarms
Often these skiers do not pick up the phone, as the skier has the phone deep in their pocket, and the call goes unanswered, as per the emergency responders. And the dispatch centres had to attend these calls, and they have been taking “a tremendous amount of resources.” The rescue workers attend every call since it is tough to differentiate between which call is an emergency and which is not. Even though none of these calls has been an emergency, the teams could get diverted from actual emergency calls.
Apple aware of the issue and working on the fix
Jaime FitzSimons, the Summit County Sheriff, contacted Apple to express his concerns of increased automated calls to his dispatch centre, to which Apple said that an update has been released this fall, which would reduce the number of automated calls. But, the dispatch centre has not noticed any reduction in calls and gets around 20 calls a day.
In response to the Pitkin County dispatch centre, Apple said that it is working on the fix, which should be released by the first quarter of 2023.
The authorities have been informing skiers about the crash detection and fall detection features of the latest iPhones and Apple Watches.
The trouble of iPhones and skiing is not something new. Even the older iPhones would call 911 automatically while users tried to adjust the volume in their helmets, but as their phones were deep in their pockets, they mistakenly triggered SOS calls. For iPhone 13 and older, 911 calls can be made by pressing the side button and the volume button.