One of the features of the Apple Watch Series 4 is the ability to detect falls. The feature seems to be aimed at the elderly who might sometimes slip and fall, like in the shower, and are unable to get up in which the Apple Watch will then be able to help them make an emergency call. However it seems that the feature is accidentally triggering false emergency calls at ski areas.
According to a report from CBS Denver, it appears that emergency dispatch centers at ski resort towns in Colorado are expressing their frustration at how they are receiving false reports due the feature being triggered. After all people do fall when they ski and this is perfectly normal, although we suppose it would be too much to ask the watch to be able to tell the difference.
The problem is that because some skiers aren’t aware that the feature has been triggered, they just dust themselves off and continue skiing while emergency dispatchers have to scramble to try and find them based on their GPS location. It should be noted that fall detection is disabled by default unless the user during the setup process sets their age as 65 and over, in which it is then enabled.
This means that users are enabling them manually and might have forgotten about it before they went skiing. According to Vail dispatch supervisor Bonnie Collard, this is a problem as it could take up resources for actual emergencies. “If that call comes in and we are in the middle of an accident with 50 or 60 phone calls on the accident, those calls are coming in people that actually have emergencies are being put on hold to answer these 911 calls that aren’t.” So maybe if you plan on hitting the slopes, turn off the feature.