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Apple Upgrade Blamed For Thousands Of Wasteful 911 Hang-Ups

PAPILLION, Neb. (CBS Local) -- 911 dispatchers in Nebraska say an Apple upgrade is to blame for a rise in the number of unintentional calls.

Sarpy County Communications in Papillion said it has received 7,000 abandoned calls so far this year, taking up valuable time and resources that could used for true emergencies.

Dispatchers say when somebody calls and disconnects, they have to call back to verify there was no emergency and determine whether or not to send authorities.

"On a call that you're trying to find a location for, it could be anywhere from five minutes to 35-40 minutes," dispatcher Clare Severn told KETV.

Sometimes, a dispatcher will send officers to your location anyway just to make sure you're safe.

Officials say an Apple upgrade is to blame for the rise in abandoned 911 calls. They say if you hit the button on the side of an Apple iPhone enough times, it will ask if you want to call 911.

"If you push a button too long, or one of the buttons, it may be a pre-programmed thing to call 911, or SOS. It may ask you, but if it's in your pocket, you don't know," said William Muldoon, the communication director.

Muldoon says newer Apple watches will call for help if they think you've fallen. In fact, he's done it.

"My Apple watch, while [I was] wrestling with the grandchildren, called 911. All of the sudden my watch was talking to me and asking if everything was OK," he said. In a panic, he hung up.

Officials say if you do misdial 911, please stay on the line to answer the dispatcher's questions.

"I know it's a knee-jerk reaction to hang up, but just stay on the line," Severn said.

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