Apple Watch Fall Detection Saves 85-Year-Old Canadian Man Living Alone

Apple Watch SE Fall Detection Credit: Apple
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The Apple Watch is easily one of the most popular pieces of technology when it comes to health and safety. After all, as cool and fun as an iPhone, MacBook, or PS5 are, we don’t hear too many stories of them actually saving people’s lives in tangible ways.

Stories of the Apple Watch’s life-saving capabilities have become a regular occurrence, and they’re a solid reminder that nobody should ever write off Apple’s wearable as nothing more than an expensive gadget or “toy.”

With advanced heart sensors that often detect medical conditions that doctors can’t and Fall Detection and Emergency SOS features that can summon paramedics even while you’re still unconscious, it’s fair to say that anybody can benefit from wearing an Apple Watch, as an elderly man in Canada’s capital recently discovered.

As shared by iPhone in Canada, an 85-year-old man living alone in Ottawa, Canada was rescued by the Ottawa Police Service (OPS) after receiving a 911 call from his Apple Watch.

Although the report doesn’t identify the name of the man, the Ottawa Police recently shared the story in some detail on Instagram, noting that “an automated message with coordinates” came into the police communication centre, which an operator used to get a specific address that she should dispatch police to.

The operator could also hear breathing and a dog barking on the other end of the line, and after digging a bit more was also able to get the name of the homeowner, providing all the necessary information to the officers who were responding to the call.

Police constables Andrew Barrett and Damian Levesque were the first to arrive on the scene, where they found the home locked with the lights off, but also heard the dog barking. They breached the door to locate the resident, providing first aid to bandage his head wound and contacting his daughter to advise her of what had happened. Paramedics arrived a few minutes later to treat the man and take him to the hospital.

Since the man in question lived alone, it’s unclear what would have happened had his Apple Watch not alerted police, but according to Constable Barrett, the gentleman is expected to “fully recover and get to spend Christmas with his family.”

An Apple Watch for Everyone

While the report doesn’t go into detail on what model of Apple Watch the man was using, it was presumably a Series 4 or later, as these are the only models that offer the Fall Detection feature.

More importantly, Apple has taken steps to ensure that these important safety features can be easily made available to elderly family members, even if they don’t have an iPhone of their own.

The Ottawa police report doesn’t say whether the man in question actually had his own iPhone, but he didn’t need to if his daughter or another family member had given him the Apple Watch.

Thanks to the Apple Watch Family Setup feature that Apple introduced in watchOS 7 last year, anybody in your family can use an Apple Watch, as long as at least one member of the family has an iPhone to set it up with.

While there are some limitations with Family Setup — most significantly, the Blood Oxygen and ECG Sensors won’t work in this configuration — the Fall Detection feature is available for users 18 and older. Since Family Setup is only available on cellular Apple Watch models, this also means you’ll get the Emergency SOS feature too, which should work even if you don’t have an active cellular plan.

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