WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Since the start of The Big E fair, six days ago, the West Springfield Police have been called nearly a dozen times by mistake.
For people who have an iPhone, there is an Emergency SOS setting that will automatically call 911 when you press and hold the power button and one of the volume buttons, or rapidly press the side button five times. A countdown will begin and an alert will sound. If the countdown ends and you are still holding the buttons, the iPhone will call 911.
The iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro models, as well as the newest versions of Apple Watch, also have a crash detection feature that automatically makes emergency calls after the device detects the user has been in a “severe crash,” like a head-on crash, a rear-end collision or a hit from the side.
However, these safety tool seems to be setting off a false alarm for some people enjoying amusement rides or bouncing around in a purse or in someone’s pocket at The Big E. Law enforcement is required to send out a welfare check on all 911 calls, thus draining resources from fire, law, and emergency service departments.
According to West Springfield Police Sergeant Joseph LaFrance, there has been about a dozen “abandoned 911” calls inside The Big E since the start of the fair. Officers are sent to the last pinged location of the phone if they do not respond. Police are asking callers to stay on the line with dispatchers and explain the reason or pick up the phone if they receive a call back if they accidentally call 911.
The feature is in place for those in an emergency who cannot dial 911 however, it can be turned off in order to avoid calling by mistake. There is an option to turn off the feature by navigating to Settings, Privacy & Security, Location Services, System Services, and check Emergency Calls & SOS is turned on or off.
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