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Beltrami County seeing ‘absolute explosion’ of 911 hang-up calls

911 call #3
911 call #3
Published: Jul. 21, 2021 at 10:22 AM CDT
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BELTRAMI COUNTY, M.N. (Valley News Live) - Officials in the Northern Valley are asking you to be more mindful of where you keep your phone to prevent accidental 911 calls.

In a Facebook post, the Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office posted:

‘STOP CALLING US!!! Alright, if you need us, please call us... but don’t call us from your cup holder.’

The department states it’s seen ‘an absolute explosion’ of 911 hang up calls in the county from ‘people fishing and bending over to pull up that trophy fish, a phone in your slightly too tight skinny jeans or throwing your phone in a cup holder... we’ve heard it all!’

An update on Apple iPhones now gives users the ability for your iPhone to call 911 easier than ever. The emergency call feature can be triggered by holding down the power button on the side of the phone and swiping on the screen to call 911. It can also be triggered by pressing the power button rapidly five times.

‘What they didn’t anticipate was that once active, all it takes is throwing your phone into a cup holder of various sizes and boom, you guessed it, an arrant 9-1-1 call. Here in lies the problem, that 9-1-1 call rings into a center. That center becomes tasked with trying to call you back, to make sure you are okay. That center follows their policies and gives it to a patrol officer who has to try to find you to make sure you are okay. Once you call 9-1-1 you can never stop the call,’ the Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office said.

The sheriff’s office is now asking you to take a few small steps to make sure this problem is fixed.

‘On your iPhone, go to settings, then to emergency SOS. From there you disable the side call function. It’s that simple. And appreciated,’ the sheriff’s office posted.

Officials say if you want to keep this ability on your phone, that’s fine too.

‘If something does happen we will be able to help locate you. We also ask that you answer the unknown number that will call you back. We know scams are everywhere. This will help us have an officer check on you.’

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