Dispatchers at Colorado’s Summit County 911 Center received 71 automated calls last weekend from iPhones and Apple Watches of skiers and snowboarders at the area’s four ski resorts (Copper, Arapahoe Basin, Breckenridge, and Keystone), none of which were actual emergencies. As the organization won’t just disregard calls, ski patrollers were contacted and told to check the locations of the automated alerts if a return call was left unanswered, according to The Colorado Sun.
“We are not in the practice of disregarding calls. These calls involve a tremendous amount of resources, from dispatchers to deputies to ski patrollers. And I don’t think we’ve ever had an actual emergency event.” – Trina Dummer, interim director at Summit County 911 Center
The iPhone and Apple Watch’s “crash detection” feature, in which the device notifies local authorities when it detects a sudden stop (implying a car crash), has already been praised for saving lives, but it may be causing more of a nuisance in skiing and snowboarding. Five Colorado counties featuring 12 of the state’s ski hills have already been forced to field a large number of these automated calls and, as dispatchers deal with calls based on the order they’re received, those alerts could easily be taking resources away from someone who really needs them.
According to Pitkin County 911 Center’s director Brett Loeb, Apple is aware of the problem with the feature and is hoping to have a fix out in the first quarter of 2023.