NL911 is clarifying how Emergency SOS for Apple’s iPhone works in Newfoundland and Labrador after recent postings about the feature on social media.
The Emergency SOS feature allows iPhone users who need emergency response to press the lock button five times in a row. It will then display an SOS button to swipe to contact emergency services.
NL911 says it has been advertised the function will automatically notify the nearest police station with the caller’s GPS coodinates and an officer will be dispatched.
That is not the case in Newfoundland and Labrador, however.
In this province, when someone uses the function, callers are directed to 911 for assistance, but the GPS coordinates and location are not automatically provided to the call taker.
If you use the Emergency SOS feature in Newfoundland and Labrador, you must stay on the line and advise the call taker of your location.
If you are unable to speak, then you must keep the line open and not hang up the phone. The open line will allow the 911 call taker to hear that there is an emergency situation, trace the call to determine the location of the phone, and communicate with emergency responders who will dispatch help.
The Emergency SOS function has an alarm that can sound and a countdown will start before the emergency call begins. This is meant to give anyone who accidently called 911 a chance to cancel the call before it is initiated. The alarm function can be disabled for anyone who wants to call discreetly, but people should be aware doing do could result in accidental calls to 911.
You should never hang up if you accidentally call 911 as the call taker needs to know there is no emergency.
NL911 said the Emergency SOS option is not available on all versions of iPhone and users should refer to Apple for more information.
There are also apps available for Android mobile phones that offer a similar function.