CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - It’s a tool designed to help you in the case of an emergency. It’s on your smartphone or Apple Watch and it dials 911 with just a simple push or tap of a button.
But could these safety features turn into a hassle for local first responders?
“I was at a party with 15-20 people and I heard a knock on the door,” said Susan Slay.
An unexpected party guest. On the other side of the door, Slay said it was the police and they were looking for her.
""He said ‘did you call the police?’ and I said ‘no I didn’t,' and I looked at my phone and I did, she said.
Slay said she accidentally called 911 from her Apple watch. With one press of a button, a message called SOS appears.
One more press and police are called.
Slay isn’t the only person to have accidentally called police from her watch.
“The operator just kept saying ‘hello hello’ and I couldn’t figure out how to turn it off," explained Lee Grossman.
Local emergency communications department tell Cleveland 19, they can’t track how many calls are due to false alarms like this one, but many agencies are reporting “technology miss-dials” are on the rise.
You can turn the feature off, but some may not want to.
A new feature, what’s being called “fall detection,” is automatically installed for people registered as older than 65.
“The apple watch has a feature where if you fall, and you are motionless for a minute then it will initiate outreach to 911 and emergency contacts" explained digital expert, Sree Sreenivasan.
And a new tweak to the iPhone emergency feature lets you call 911 simply by pushing the volume and power buttons at the same time and holding for five seconds.
Something that could help you in the case of a true emergency.
“Go into the phone settings and spend a few minutes a day testing out various settings understanding what it does and how you can turn features on and off,” Sreenivasan said.
Each device is different, so if you want to learn how to disable your emergency settings, check in with your phone or watch provider.