301.519.9237 exdirector@nesaus.org

6.10.21 – Oklahoma City (KOKH)

Accidental 911 calls are increasing across Oklahoma all because of safety features on mobile devices like Apple iPhones and watches, according to the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security.

Officials estimate that 12% of 911 calls are hang-ups that have to be followed up on with almost all of them considered accidents.

Dispatchers receive thousands of calls each year where they can only hear background sounds. All of those calls have to be checked out to see if the caller needs help or not.

Both Apple and Andriod devices have built-in safety features to call 911 in an emergency but now the department can see which devices the calls are coming from.

They say more than 95% of the accidental calls are coming from Apple devices due to the SOS emergency call feature that is automatically enabled when the device is purchased.

Officials are asking Apple users to be aware of the SOS feature and review how it works.

If an accidental call is made, they ask the caller to please stay on the line or call back immediately to let them know the call was an error.

There are two iPhone features to be aware of.

The first is if you rapidly press the power button on the side of your phone five times. The second is holding down the power and volume button.

Once those are pressed there will be a countdown and a 911 call will be placed at the end of the countdown.

Both features can be extremely helpful in certain situations where you are unable to dial 911 but both can be triggered by mistake while your phone is stored in a bag/pocket, being played with by a child, or by other activities.

Deactivated phones can also accidentally call 911.

You can turn off the emergency SOS feature if you would like in your phone settings.