by Dennis Dalman
The Stearns County Sheriff’s Department is urging people who wear Apple watches to adjust or re-adjust the settings on those watches or similar “smart” monitoring devices so they will not send out false alarms.
Recently, the sheriff’s department has been receiving emergency alerts about falls or crashes, which has sent deputies on variations of a wild goose chase. The alerts come to the sheriff’s emergency-communications center in the form of a cellular message that a crash or fall occurred. Deputies then responded to the site of the alerts based on coordinates from the Global Positioning System. When deputies arrived at the scene of the supposed emergency, they found nobody and no evidence of any accident.
Sheriff department employees believe the alert signals occur when someone wearing an Apple watch or other device is involved in activities such as snowmobiling, sledding or tubing that can cause sudden stops, quick turns, maneuvering over bumpy land, causing the vehicles to thump on the ground. Those movements can be “perceived” by the worn device as a fall or other accident, and the device then emits the emergency-alert signal.
Such false signals can needlessly tie up the time of law-enforcement officials.