Apple Watch Fall Detection credited with saving unresponsive Arizona man

Posted:
in General Discussion edited June 2020
The Apple Watch's Fall Detection feature is being credited as helping save an unresponsive man in Chandler, Arizona.

Credit: Apple
Credit: Apple


Fall Detection, introduced on the Apple Watch Series 4, can detect if a user takes a hard fall and will alert local emergency services if they don't respond within 60 seconds.

The potentially life-saving capabilities of that feature were on display on April 23, when police dispatchers in Chandler received a 911 call from an automated voice, according to local media outlet KTAR.

The auto-generated message indicated that an Apple Watch wearer had fallen and was not responding, and also provided authorities with the exact latitude and longitude of the man's location.

When officers and the Chandler Fire Department showed up, they found that the man had fainted and collapsed.

"He would never have been able to provide us his location or any information on what was going on," dispatcher Adriana Cacciola told KTAR. "He wasn't even aware that any help was coming until we were already there."

The Fall Detection feature on the Apple Watch Series 4 and Apple Watch Series 5 is on by default for users 65 years of age and older. Other users will need to set the feature up manually.

When a user takes a hard fall, Fall Detection will prompt the user to respond and dismiss the notification or contact first responders. If the user doesn't dismiss the dialog within one minute, the Apple Watch will do so automatically.

This isn't the first time that Fall Detection was credited with helping to save someone in distress. In 2019, the feature reportedly alerted authorities when an Australian woman with epilepsy suffered a seizure. Emergency SOS, which allows an Apple Watch owner to contact emergency services from their wrist, has also helped users in emergency circumstances.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 5
    dinkydogsdinkydogs Posts: 18member


    When a user takes a hard fall, Fall Detection will prompt the user to respond and dismiss the notification or contact first responders. If the user doesn't dismiss the dialog within one minute, the Apple Watch will do so automatically.

    This is incorrect. If the user doesn't dismiss the dialog, the watch will contact 911 automatically and not dismiss the dialog automatically.

    I think it also sends a message to your emergency contacts
    edited June 2020 watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 5
    jony0jony0 Posts: 347member
    dinkydogs said:


    When a user takes a hard fall, Fall Detection will prompt the user to respond and dismiss the notification or contact first responders. If the user doesn't dismiss the dialog within one minute, the Apple Watch will do so automatically.

    This is incorrect. If the user doesn't dismiss the dialog, the watch will contact 911 automatically and not dismiss the dialog automatically.

    I think it also sends a message to your emergency contacts
    Correct, but I also believe that's what the author meant, albeit in a roundabout way and grammatically ambivalent. It's a great feature even though I've had more than a dozen false positives, but better safe than sorry. I only wish the alert sound and haptic pattern could be as loud and hard as the watch can muster and have a more robust and distinctive sound and taps, the current alert is somewhat wimpy and doesn't stand out all that much relative to all the other notification sounds. A few of those false alarms were caught just in time.
    GeorgeBMacwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 5
    dave marshdave marsh Posts: 337member
    dinkydogs said:


    When a user takes a hard fall, Fall Detection will prompt the user to respond and dismiss the notification or contact first responders. If the user doesn't dismiss the dialog within one minute, the Apple Watch will do so automatically.

    This is incorrect. If the user doesn't dismiss the dialog, the watch will contact 911 automatically and not dismiss the dialog automatically.

    I think it also sends a message to your emergency contacts
    I think you’re misreading the statement.  I had a hard fall a couple of years ago and my Apple Watch 4 immediately popped up, said it had detected a hard fall, and asked me if I was OK or wanted to call 911 and my emergency family numbers, or dismiss the notification.  Perhaps it would have been clearer to say “respond TO dismiss the notification or contact” people.  People these days often throw in an “and” inappropriately.
    GeorgeBMacwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 5
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 10,713member
    jony0 said:
    dinkydogs said:


    When a user takes a hard fall, Fall Detection will prompt the user to respond and dismiss the notification or contact first responders. If the user doesn't dismiss the dialog within one minute, the Apple Watch will do so automatically.

    This is incorrect. If the user doesn't dismiss the dialog, the watch will contact 911 automatically and not dismiss the dialog automatically.

    I think it also sends a message to your emergency contacts
    Correct, but I also believe that's what the author meant, albeit in a roundabout way and grammatically ambivalent. It's a great feature even though I've had more than a dozen false positives, but better safe than sorry. I only wish the alert sound and haptic pattern could be as loud and hard as the watch can muster and have a more robust and distinctive sound and taps, the current alert is somewhat wimpy and doesn't stand out all that much relative to all the other notification sounds. A few of those false alarms were caught just in time.
    I totally agree!   That is a "must have" enhancement and I'm surprised they have not already done as you suggest.
    For myself, I've fallen twice (both times tripping over leaf covered semi-buried rocks while running) and both times I woke up face down in the dirt with the watch asking if I had fallen and if it should call 911.  But, as you point out, the taps are overly gentle and the chimes very soft and easy to miss -- especially in a noisy, active environment.

    The only false positives I've had happen when I play basketball or football -- then it almost always get triggered by me catching or throwing the ball.   That's also a prime area for an enhancement:  where you can turn fall detection off from the watch.   Currently, I have to call 'time-out', leave the field, find my phone and scroll down through the Watch App looking for fall detection to turn it off.   I could just remove the watch (and I have) -- but I prefer to use it to track my activity.

    That's not to trash the watch!   I love it and won't leave home without it -- actually, I won't even leave my bed without it (I wear it all night in case I need to get up but fall).  But, these two things are very doable and really need to be done.

    jony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 5
    arinkerarinker Posts: 7member
    The watch is a little smarter than described above. After an alert:

    ” If your Apple Watch detects that you're moving, it waits for you to respond to the alert and won't automatically call emergency services. If your watch detects that you have been immobile for about a minute, it will make the call automatically...

    ” If your Apple Watch detects that you're immobile for about a minute, it begins a 30-second countdown, while tapping you on the wrist and sounding an alert. The alert gets louder, so that you or someone nearby can hear it. If you don't want to call emergency services, tap Cancel. When the countdown ends, your Apple Watch automatically contacts emergency services. ”

    I suspect the author intended a brief description of the fall detection, rather than a 3 paragraph description of the decision making process.

    I’ve noticed that I’m getting fewer false fall alerts than I did when I first got my watch. Is there some sort of learning going on in the watch?
    GeorgeBMacDogpersonwatto_cobra
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