Posted: Sun 18th Jun 2023

Accidental 999 calls surge following Android update

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Sunday, Jun 18th, 2023

A recent update to Android phones has unintentionally caused a significant increase in emergency calls, according to BT.

The update introduced a new feature that triggers an SOS call to 999 if a button on the side of the phone is pressed five times. This has resulted in a surge of ‘silent calls’ to the emergency services.

‘Silent calls’ are defined as 999 calls where the operator cannot hear anyone on the other end of the line.

While these types of calls are never disregarded, they can place unnecessary pressure on the system.

Call handlers are then obligated to expend precious time trying to call back the original caller to confirm if help is required.

In light of this, BT is advising Android users to examine their emergency settings and deactivate the ‘Emergency SOS’ feature that was added in the most recent update.

To achieve this, users need to go to ‘Settings’, then ‘Safety and Emergency’, and slide the button labelled ‘Emergency SOS’ to turn the function off.

If an unintentional 999 call does happen, the advice is not to end the call. Instead, callers are asked to stay on the line and inform the operator that the call was accidental and that no help is needed.

Chief Inspector Jon Aspinall, from North Wales Police, said, “The number of accidental 999 calls we are receiving has risen sharply. I would urge everyone to review their emergency settings on their mobile phones and modify them to avoid further unintentional calls to the emergency services.”

“We are cooperating closely with mobile phone providers to address this issue. However, in the meantime, changing your settings will ensure you do not inadvertently dial 999.”

“If you have any problems adjusting your settings, please get in touch with your handset or network provider, or use an online search to find out how to change the settings for your specific handset.”

“Our top priority is to provide an immediate service to those most in need and would recommend you follow the given advice.”

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