Red Deer Emergency Services wants to remind iPhone users to stop wedging their phones into cup holders which can accidentally trigger an emergency SOS feature.
Pressing both the volume button on the left side of phone, and the side button on the right, will trigger a brief countdown with alert sounds before automatically calling 911 on an iPhone 8, or later models.
“Your phone barely fits in your cup holder, so when you’re putting it in it’s activating those side buttons. They are getting pressed because it’s a tight fit,” said Andrea McLean, assistant to the deputy chief for Red Deer Emergency Services.
“We hate cup holders.”
It's another beautiful weekend in Central Alberta!!
Every weekend we receive HUNDREDS of accidental calls from cell phones in cupholders. While we love hearing all your good times each one ties up an emergency line.
This weekend #JustSayNoToCupholders #EverySecondCounts pic.twitter.com/Ou9jIn0uKP
— Red Deer 911 Emergency Communications Centre (@RedDeer911) July 23, 2022
Red Deer Emergency Communication Centre received 3,303 accidental 911 calls in June caused by children playing with cellphones, pocket dials, phones dialed inside purses, cup holder incidents, and more.
Red Deer dispatchers serve 430,000 people in central and southern Alberta at one of the province’s primary emergency communication centres.
She said social media campaigns are helping people realize that cup holders are not a good place to store cellphones. Dispatchers are also educating the public one accidental caller at a time by asking them if their phone was in a cup holder and recommending an alternate location.
McLean said dispatchers do understand that accidental calls can happen, and it’s important for people to not hang up and report their mistake.
“If you accidentally do call 911 please stay on the line and tell us you’re safe.”
She said if a caller doesn’t stay on the line, the dispatcher must take the time to call them back. Worse yet, if the dispatcher hears something odd before the call disconnects, and can’t tell whether it’s an emergency, they will send the RCMP.
“Hangups from cellphones are a huge problem for us. It takes a lot of time and attention away from real 911 calls.
“We much prefer if they see their phone is dialing in, to please stay on the line, and tell us it was an accident.”
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