Police in Regina, Canada are asking everyone to stop asking Siri about 911 on their iPhones. They are blaming the iOS feature for the fact that 911 operators received 114 hang-up calls during a two-hour period on a recent Sunday.
“Our concern is that repeated instances of this tie up resourced and might prevent someone who is legitimately trying to call 911 from getting through,” spokesperson Elizabeth Popowich said.
Police surmise people probably aren’t trying to call 911. The likely scenario is people mention 911 to Siri, which is authorized to make calls on Apple phones, and the program fills in the blanks. The police noticed this recent influx in calls coincided with social media posts telling iPhone users to ask Siri about 911 for an “amazing or hilarious” response. Some callers even admitted that following the directions of these posts caused them to inadvertently call 911.
“For us, the coincidence is too great,” Popowich said.
So, if you see a post on social media similar to the one mentioned above, know that the response will simply be wasting a 911 operator’s time, as operators are obligated to try to contact hang-up callers to make sure there isn’t a genuine emergency.
“Part of our concern is people don’t necessarily understand that there is a consequence to what they’ve just done. And, if they understood that, they wouldn’t do it,” Popowich said.