BELVIDERE, Ill. (WTVO) — The Boone County Sheriff is advising owners of smartphones to deactivate an automatic SOS feature that is causing the department to waste time and resources on a 300% percent increase in hang up and misdialed 911 calls.
According to the Sheriff’s Office, there was a 200% increase in hangup calls from January until now, and an almost 300% increase from May 2022 vs May 2023.
Authorities must follow up on every single call, and send emergency resources if they cannot confirm there is no emergency.
“If you do accidentally call 911, STAY ON THE LINE and verify all information. DO NOT HANG UP,” the sheriff’s office said in a press release.
Law enforcement attributed the increase to a recent software update on Android phones where the SOS feature is automatically turned on with the update. “We have found that causes of the misdials are as simple as pocket dial, the phone bouncing around too much in a vehicle or ATV/UTV, a hard drop of the phone, etc,” police explained.
Most smartphones and watches have Emergency SOS features that may be activated by pressing the volume or power buttons multiple times (depending on the operating system or phone). If you would like to deactivate those features, follow the steps below.
- Open your phone’s Settings app.
- Tap Safety & emergency Emergency SOS.
- Turn off Use Emergency SOS.
- Go to Settings > Emergency SOS.
- Turn “Call with Hold and Release” off.
- Turn “Call with 5 presses” off.
- Open the Watch app on your iPhone, then tap the My Watch tab.
- Tap Emergency SOS.
- Turn off Hold Side Button to Dial.