911 Stories March 6, 2017

We reported back in October on an iOS exploit that caused iPhones to repeatedly dial 911 without user intervention. It was said then that the volume of calls meant one 911 center was in ‘immediate danger’ of losing service, while two other centers had been at risk – but a full investigation has now concluded that the incident was much more serious than it appeared at the time.

It was initially thought that a few hundred calls were generated in a short time, but investigators now believe that one tweeted link that activated the exploit was clicked on 117,502 times, each click triggering a 911 call. The WSJ reports that law-enforcement officials and 911 experts fear that a targeted attack using the same technique could prove devastating …

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911 Stories October 31, 2016

An Arizona teenager caused havoc in multiple 911 cell centers last week after creating a proof of concept of an iOS exploit that caused iPhones to dial 911. The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office said that one police department was ‘in immediate danger of losing service’ to its 911 center, and two other call centers were also at risk …

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911 Stories June 7, 2016

Mother uses Hey Siri to call ambulance while performing CPR on 1-year-old daughter

An Australian mother used the Hey Siri function of her iPhone 6s to call for an ambulance while performing CPR on her 1-year-old daughter who had stopped breathing.

911 Stories March 10, 2016

A patent application describes how the Apple Watch and iPhone could work together to detect medical emergencies like a heart attack, and automatically call 911.

While the patent wording doesn’t specifically name either the Apple Watch or iPhone, the meaning of one electronic device cooperating with another one seems pretty clear.

An occurrence of one or more “care events” is detected by an electronic device monitoring environmental data and/or user data from one or more sensors. The electronic device transmits one or more alerts regarding the detected occurrence to at least one other electronic device. In some cases, the electronic device may cooperate with at least one other electronic device in monitoring, detecting, and/or transmitting.

Apple says that the setup could detect a range of emergencies, and take appropriate action depending on the severity – ranging from sending an email to a family member at the low end to calling 911 in the most urgent of cases …

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911 Stories November 20, 2015

We reported recently on an Apple patent application for a ‘panic mode‘ on an iPhone, where using a specific finger on the Touch ID sensor could do anything from locking down the phone to calling 911 and starting audio and video recording.

There are pros & cons to the idea, of course, with one 911 operator saying that a similar Blackberry function has resulted in “thousands and thousands” of false emergency calls, each of which have to be treated as real calls for help until demonstrated otherwise.

But if we waited until someone manually dialled 911, it seems to me that there’s merit in some of the other ideas …  expand full story

911 Stories August 25, 2014

When someone’s heart stops, there are just minutes to save them from brain damage or death; by the time medics arrive, it can be too late. This is the problem former San Ramon Valley Fire Department chief Richard Price set out to solve with the crowdsourced iOS app, PulsePoint.

Price came up with the idea for the app after a tragedy that happened feet from where he was sitting, reports Re/code.

He was off-duty at a local deli when he heard sirens. Emergency vehicles pulled up and he rushed outside to see what was going on. A man in a shop next door had collapsed and emergency responders were unable to revive him.

“He was on the other side of the wall, I couldn’t see him,” Price says. “He lay there unconscious with no one doing CPR. I had a (automated defibrillator) nearby in my vehicle.”

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