An increase in accidental 911 calls in Idaho has been blamed on skiers and snowboarders wearing Apple watches, The spokesman reports(Opens in a new window).
In a Facebook (Opens in a new window)post on Thursday, the Bonner County Sheriff’s Office said nearly 30% of the 911 calls received last Saturday were the result of “people enjoying activities at Schweitzer Mountain,” a popular ski resort in Idaho.
In the Facebook post, the Sheriff’s Office said its patrol deputies “treat every 911 call as an emergency until we can confirm otherwise. These accidental 911 calls can take emergency resources away from true emergencies elsewhere in the county.”
However, Schweitzer Mountain was unaware of the increase in calls. In another email AdvocateSean Mirus, the resort’s marketing director said Thursday was not an “unusually active day on the mountain.”
Regardless, this isn’t the first time fall detection technology has led to accidental 911 calls from fallen skiers. Last month, 911 operators in Pitkin County, Colorado received up to 20 unintended iPhone 14 calls a day, requiring operators to divert resources from real emergencies.
According to Colorado dispatch services, not a single 911 call from iPhones on the state’s ski slopes in December was about an actual emergency.
The fall detection feature, found on iPhone 14, 14 Pros and Apple Watches and automatically turned on for those 55 and older, works(Opens in a new window) by displaying an alert that shows when a hard fall or car accident is detected. The fall detection function is activated when a user is immobile for more than one minute, emergency services are contacted immediately.
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Meanwhile, the sister Crash Detection feature, which has been blamed for errant roller coaster rides for car crashes(Opens in a new window)calls the emergency services 20 seconds after a car accident is detected.
On an Apple Watch Ultra, you can turn off notifications and automatic emergency calls that originate from the crash detection feature by opening the Settings app, going to SOS > Crash Detection, then turning off calls after severe crashes.
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