Ever made an accidental 911 call?

Published: Jul. 15, 2021 at 4:30 PM EDT
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PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WAGM) - Kids learn it in kindergarten--911 is for emergencies. But what if your phone mistakenly calls for you?

“As of recently it seems we have quite an uptick in [accidental 911 calls] and it seems to be due to a recent update in Apple phones,” said Lieutenant Brian Harris at Maine State Police.

Because of the update, an emergency call function is triggered if you hold down the side button on your phone or hit it too many times.

“Which on its face is a great tool. Great idea if you don’t have time to dial 911. Hitting the button in an emergency would be great.”

The problem is there are a lot of accidents.

“For example, a story I know from last weekend, a gentleman I know was playing golf and set his phone in the cup holder on the golf cart. When he did so, he didn’t know it, but the side button was hit enough to call 911. Next thing he knows, he’s getting a call from our dispatcher...When that happens is we have to respond to where that call came from,” said Harris.

Which can waste precious time for emergency responders. Jody Doughty, store manger at US Cellular in Presque Isle, showed three ways the emergency calls work.

“One being holding down the volume key and the power button and on the phone. It says “Emergency SOS” and if that is tapped that will immediately dial 911...the other method is to continue to hold those buttons, so the volume down key and the power button if you hold them for 5 seconds it will automatically dial...and in the case of a dire emergency you can press the power button five times quickly.”

Turning off the Emergency SOS is as easy as going to your settings, scrolling to the Emergency SOS tab, and swiping it to “off”.

But before you turn off your Emergency SOS, Harris hopes you’ll consider the importance of that function in a real emergency.

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