An Apple repair center located in Elk Grove, California, reportedly sent thousands of SOS calls to 911 accidentally over the past four months.
Elk Grove Police Department’s dispatcher Jamie Hudson confirmed the report, revealing that they have been receiving about 20 accidental calls a day from Apple devices since October. Closer inspection indicates these were purely accidental.
While triggering an SOS alert may not seem like a big deal, operators manning the 911 hotline find these as a complete nuisance, especially when they are dealing with a real emergency.
“The times when it’s greatly impacting us is when we have other emergencies happening, and we may have a dispatcher on another 911 call that may have to put that call on hold to triage the incoming call.”
Hudson added that it’s easy to trace the call location. So, they can determine that it’s from Apple right away based on the address. As reported by CBS, the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department Communication Department also receives similar calls, and dispatchers sometimes hear technicians in the background when they get these prank calls.
As of Jan. 1, they received 47 prank calls from the Apple center. To the people who get the calls, it seems like the people in the background are talking about Apple devices or just maintenance and repairs, in general.
The calls apparently come from Apple devices although it is yet to be determined if it is from iPhones or the Apple Watch. These devices can make 911 calls even if they don’t have a cellular plan, and calling for help with an Apple gadget can be done with just the touch of a button.
Sgt. Shaun Hampton of the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department relayed that these calls might have an impact on the quality of services they provide.
Given the number of calls from their refurbishment facility in Elk Grove, Apple is taking serious steps to address the issue. The Silicon Valley company revealed that they have been looking into the issue, and they are working closely with the local authorities to resolve the issue.
Jason Jimenez of the Elk Grove Police Department confirmed that Apple has been working with them and so far, the prank calls from the Apple repair center is not a threat to public safety.