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It’s a slippery slope.

Apple’s new ultra-sensitive iPhone 14 and 14 Pro models and three Apple Watch editions are designed to alert authorities when the owner is in a serious accident, but now dial 911 even for slipping on skis.

Since the start of the ski season, the crash detection feature has caused 911 centers near ski mountains to be flooded with random, automated calls from the phones and watches of dead skiers and snowboarders.

Greene County, New York’s 911 center, which handles calls from the popular ski destinations of Windham and Hunter Mountains, saw a 22 percent increase in disconnections, open lines and false 911 calls last December compared to December 2021.

“We’re still working on that 15-25 percent increase in calls [compared to last year]it could very well come through … Apple-generated and automated emergency notifications,” Jim DiPerna, the county’s 911 communications director, told The Post.

When an automated call comes in, dispatchers will try to get someone on the phone to confirm that there really isn’t an emergency.

An Apple representative declined to answer a question about how the feature could be updated to prevent devices from making 911 calls when there has been no car accident.

When the owner doesn’t realize their phone is dialing 911, officers will take steps such as tracking the Apple device’s location and sharing it with the ski patrol, according to DiPerna.

“In the worst case scenario, we’re trying to figure out where you are, what went wrong and what resources we need to send to take care of it. It can go from a 30-second phone call to God knows how long,” he said.

Snowboarders go down the hill
The unwarranted 911 calls resulting from the discovery of the crash overwhelmed dispatch centers as well as police and emergency medical services.
Paul Martinka

The 911 calls resulting from the crash have overwhelmed dispatch centers, as well as police and emergency medical services, which sometimes respond to the ski mountain where the unanswered call originated.

Pennsylvania’s Carbon County Communications Center now receives up to 20 automated accident detections per day from snowmobilers at Jack Frost, Big Boulder and Blue Mountain Ski Areas; a climb that 911 Assistant Manager Justin Markel describes as “taxing” on his team.

“They’re busy enough already,” he snapped.

“You don’t want to assume that nothing’s going on and everybody’s fine, wherever the activation came from, so that’s something we have to check,” said Shawn Datesman, 911 operations director for Monroe County, Pennsylvania. , which is home to Camelback. and Shawnee Ski Resorts.

An Apple spokesperson told The Post that the company is in contact with 911 call centers that are currently experiencing an increase in automated 911 calls due to the crash detection feature and is getting their feedback.

A spokeswoman declined to comment on how the feature could be updated in the future to prevent Apple devices from making 911 calls when there has been no car accident.



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