Dispatchers receive unintentional 911 calls from skiers due to iPhone malfunctioning technology
Summit County, Utah New crash technology may trigger iPhones to call 9-1-1, even if the user doesn’t need help.
Summit County dispatchers are seeing an uptick in accidental emergency calls from skiers. This technology is designed to detect severe car accidents, but it is often accidentally activated at ski resorts.
If the Apple device senses a malfunction, a message will appear on the screen with a beep. The user can dismiss the alert, but if they don’t respond within 20 seconds, an automated voice message will be sent to the nearest 911 call center.
“We will get a call that the owner of the Apple Watch or iPhone has been in a severe car accident or has been in a car accident,” said Susie Butterfield, superintendent of the Summit County Dispatch Center.
Fault detection technology is available on iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Pro, Apple Watch Series 8, Apple Watch SE, and Apple Watch Ultra. Sends senders the GPS coordinates of the user’s location and their callback number.
“They won’t answer you when you first start talking because I don’t even think they know they did, but when you call back, they’re usually like, ‘Oh, I’m sorry, I was skating.'” “It’s all right,” Butterfield said.
This is what happens to skaters in Utah.
Summit Co’s 911 call center receives multiple calls per day from activated Apple devices with an alert, but no one is hurt. They just skate. ⛷
– Shelby Lofton (@newswithShelby) November 30, 2022
If the dispatcher cannot get the iPhone user, it will alert the ski patrol.
Butterfield said she gets three to five emergency calls from Apple tech a day. She said none of the calls she received were intentionally triggered.
“They usually have no idea they’ve even contacted us,” Butterfield said.
She said she didn’t mind calling 911.
“If we can avoid emergencies, that’s a good thing,” she said.
Butterfield sees technology as a tool, not a nuisance.
“Someone can ski and hit a tree and pass out and not be visible to other skiers,” she said.
Apple Troubleshooting is turned on by default. Keep it that way, dispatchers at the Summit County Call Center said.
“We don’t want you to turn the feature off,” Butterfield said. “We prefer you to be safe. We don’t mind taking this call because if something really does happen, we want to be able to get to you.”
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