Quebec City’s police department (SPVQ) is calling on residents to turn off the Emergency SOS function on their devices after a marked increase in mistaken calls to 911. It said that these calls have a “real impact on the call response time for real emergencies.”
Accidental calls (also known as pocket-dials or butt-dials) represent around 39 percent of all calls made to 911, said the SPVQ. That’s about 750 mistaken calls per day.
In early June, we noted that a software update for Android may have re-enabled the Emergency SOS on your device, even if you had manually deactivated it. As a result, more Android users were accidentally calling 911 in Ontario. The SPVQ has speculated that this may have led to the increase in calls in Quebec City, too.
ADVISORY: OPP Comm Centres have seen a significant increase in 911 hang-ups. This may be linked to an Android update that turns on Emergency SOS. You could easily dial 911 without knowing. Please, check your phone. Ensure 911 lines are available for life-threatening emergencies. pic.twitter.com/E08xsUji6u
— OPPCommunicationsWR (@OPP_COMM_WR) May 30, 2023
To deactivate the feature on Android phones, go to your Settings and scroll down to the ‘Safety and emergency option.’ Tap it, and you’ll see the ‘Emergency SOS’ feature. Just tap on the toggle button next to it to turn it on or off. Other features here can be equally vital in a dangerous situation, like choosing an emergency contact.
On Apple phones, there’s an Emergency SOS option listed right in your Settings. Similar to Android, click on it and adjust the various settings as you see fit.
As technology becomes more advanced, companies are able to offer more safety features that sound appealing to users. However, without the need for human input, the features can also waste first responders’ valuable time and resources.
In 2022, one Apple device in a snowmobile had Crash Detection turned on, which resulted in an unnecessary helicopter search. Another Crash Detection mistake occurred when a user took their Apple Device on a rollercoaster. Earlier this year, The OPP said that more and more 911 operators are quickly hung up on, and speculated it is due to mistaken calls.
Source: Global News