The Josephine County 911 Agency is asking Android users to turn off the Emergency SOS feature in the settings of their phones until an issue is corrected in a future release.
Phones will still be able to call 911 in the event of an emergency. The Emergency SOS feature calls 911 after the side buttons on the phone are pressed 5 times in rapid succession. The result is that many accidental calls are being placed into our center. For each of these calls, a dispatcher must call the phone back to determine if a true emergency exists. Calls that go unanswered are then sent to an officer to attempt to locate the caller and check their welfare, tying up emergency responders who are then unavailable for actual emergency calls.
Over the month of March, officials noticed a 31% increase in 911 hangup calls and a 49% increase in these calls over the month of April from the same period in 2022. When questioning callers about the reason for the accidental call, the vast majority have been determined to come from Android phones in pockets, vehicle cup holders, or purses.
To turn off this feature on an Android phone, go to the settings of your phone, click on the magnifying glass to search, and type in Emergency SOS. You can then slide the toggle to turn the feature off. The feature has a built-in alert to notify callers prior to the calls being placed; however, many times the alert is either not working or not noticed in time to prevent the call.
If you do find that you’ve accidentally called 911, do not hang up. Stay on the line and let the dispatcher know it was an accident, answering the questions they ask. This will allow them to close out the call without further action.
Source: JoCo 911