Emergency SOS phone feature potentially leading to 911 misdials at The Big E
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) - Wednesday marked Day 6 at the Big E. Since opening day, the West Springfield Police Department hasn’t stopped receiving 911 calls, all misdialed.
“We’ve got about 12 or 13 of them since the start of the big e inside the property. They always turn out, normally, to be nothing. These are accidental misdials,” said Sgt. Joe Lafrance.
Lafrance tells Western Mass News he believes the reason behind these calls is the emergency SOS feature, available on both iPhones and Androids.
“It’s most likely a setting that’s on the phone called emergency SOS. A lot of people use that setting when they go out and walk alone, or they are joggers. It allows them to dial 911 simply by pushing the side button several times,” said Lafrance.
The emergency SOS feature is there to make it easy to alert emergency contacts on your phone and first responders in the case of an emergency.
Sgt. LaFrance tells us those coming to the Big E have been activating it with the press of a button, mainly by mistake while riding roller coasters at the fair.
So the setting is on and maybe their phones are in their back pockets or purse getting bounced around and are accidentally sending these 911 calls to the dispatch center,” said Lafrance.
It’s something fairgoers we spoke to were not aware could happen.
“We didn’t know that. I knew the Apple watch could. but I didn’t know that your phone would do it,” said Allison Abbott of New Hampshire.
“It shouldn’t do that. Technically. But if it’s going to do that, they should fix it before everybody else starts having falsified phone calls, I guess, or text messages,” said Latasha Maddox of Connecticut.
If you are coming to the Big E and are planning on getting on the rides, Sgt. LaFrance recommends going into the settings of your phone and turning the emergency sos off temporarily.
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