The RCMP in B.C. is asking Android users to turn off the Emergency SOS feature on their smartphones due to a “significant increase” in abandoned 911 calls.
The feature allows device holders to quickly make a call to first responders in case of an emergency after pressing the side button on their phone five successive times. However, emergency services can be called by accident.
Most often, users don’t even realize the Emergency SOS has been activated and a call is made to 911,” Supt. Mike Bhatti, officer in charge of the Operational Communications Centres, said in a press release.
Each dropped call means a police dispatcher is obligated to determine if the caller is safe. “These dropped and abandoned calls take time and resources away from actual emergencies,” Bhatti said.
The RCMP says if an accidental call is made, users should stay on the line and tell the operator.
To turn off the Emergency SOS feature on Android devices, go to Settings > Safety and Emergency > tap the toggle to turn it off.
The request follows a similar one the OPP made last month, stating the feature caused a “significant increase” of 911 hangups.