Apple’s guidelines for this feature
In an attempt to reduce false calls, Apple has introduced Crash Detection optimisations in its latest iOS 16 updates. The Cupertino-based tech giant has now shared new recommendations for users if their iPhones accidentally activate the crash detection feature.
Apple has updated its Crash Detection support document to direct users not to hang up if the iPhone places an accidental call. Instead, the company has asked users to explain to the emergency responder that help is not required.
The company says: “If the call has been made, but you don’t need emergency services, don’t hang up. Wait until a responder answers, then explain that you don’t need help.”
Previously, the support document also included another sentence which read: “If you don’t need to contact emergency services, tap Cancel and confirm that you don’t need emergency services.” Apple also has removed this part from the support document. This suggested users to cancel a call during the timer period.
However, the support document still suggests users dismiss an alert if they can. With this new update, Apple wants to stop iPhone users from cancelling a disconnecting an already-started emergency call. The company explains that this habit can leave emergency responders confused.
How emergency responders are affected due to false alarms
Several reports suggest that emergency dispatchers around ski slopes have been “unhappy” with the number of accidental calls they received for this feature.
Apple’s Crash Detection feature can be triggered by skiing and snowboarding tumbles. Moreover, as users wear heavy clothing for these activities, often they are unable to notice that an emergency call has been placed from their iPhone or Apple Watch.
In a week in January, 185 accidental Crash Detection calls were received by emergency responders at Colorado’s Summit County, reports MacRumors. These false alarms wasted time and resources which were needed for actual emergencies.
In February, Trina Dummer, the emergency services director of Summit County noted that this situation threatens to “desensitise dispatchers and divert limited resources from true emergencies.”
To respond to this issue, Apple sent four representatives to Summit County to observe the emergency call centre. Since these incidents, the company has also added further optimisations to the feature.