Apple devices have been triggering false calls to emergency responders, indicating crashes and the wearer needing rescuing. Stearns County has received seven false crash calls in the past couple weeks. Four involved snowmobilers. Three came from downhill skiers.
After making several return calls, Lentz said dispatchers were able to eventually reach one of those skiers. The skier said that they must have fallen. Other emergency responders around the state are experiencing the same. When activities such as snowmobiling and skiing, which can involve sudden stops, quick turns, jumps or traveling over rough terrain, trick the phone or watch’s sensors into thinking there’s been a serious crash. Apple began adding crash technology software to its products last September.
The company states that it had undergone rigorous testing and says that when a crash is detected, there’s a 10-second delay followed by a 10-second countdown during which the phone or watch displays an alert and sounds an alarm so the user can cancel the emergency call if it isn’t needed.
But that alarm can be tough to hear through the roar of a snowmobile, or if the phone is buried under layers of winter clothing.