Please Stop Squeezing Cell Phones Into Cup Holders, Says Red Deer Emergency Services


Red Deer Emergency Services would like to remind iPhone users to stop getting their phones stuck in cup holders, which can accidentally trigger an emergency SOS feature.

Press both the volume button on the left side of the phone and the side button on the right to trigger a brief countdown with alert sounds before automatically calling 911 on an iPhone 8 or models later.

“Your phone barely fits in your cup holder, so when you put it in it activates those side buttons. They’re pressed because it’s tight,” said Andrea McLean, assistant deputy chief of emergency services of Red Deer.

“We hate cup holders.”

The Red Deer Emergency Communications Center received 3,303 accidental 911 calls in June caused by children playing with cell phones, pocket dials, phones dialed inside purses, incidents of cup holders, etc.

Red Deer dispatchers serve 430,000 people in central and southern Alberta at one of the province’s main emergency communications centres.

She said social media campaigns help people realize that cup holders are not a good place to store cellphones. Dispatchers also notify the public one accidental caller at a time by asking if their phone was in a cup holder and recommending an alternate location.

McLean said dispatchers understand that accidental calls can happen and it’s important people don’t hang up and report their error.

“If you accidentally call 911, please stay on the line and let us know you are safe.”

She said if a caller doesn’t stay on the line, the dispatcher should take the time to call them back. Worse, if the dispatcher hears something strange before the call disconnects and can’t tell if it’s an emergency, they’ll dispatch the RCMP.

“Hang ups from cell phones are a huge problem for us. It takes a lot of time and attention away from real 911 calls.

“We much prefer if they see their phone connect, please stay on the line and tell us it was an accident.”

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