AZ Man Collapses, Wakes up to First Responders Thanks to Apple Watch

Apple Watch Emergency SOS Credit: Hadrian / Shutterstock
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We’ve heard about the Apple Watch saving lives because it detected a heart condition, but that’s not the only medical intervention included on the watch. A man in Chandler, Arizona has the Apple Watch to thank for saving his life after an unexpected fall.

According to a report in Arizona’s KTAR NEWS, an Apple Watch automatically called 911 when the wearer fainted and collapsed. Dispatch received the call for help and sent emergency services to the man before it was too late.

“He would never have been able to provide us his location or any information on what was going on. He wasn’t even aware that any help was coming until we were already there.”

Dispatch Supervisor Adriana Cacciola to to KTAR news

How Fall Detection Works

Starting with the Apple Watch Series 4, Apple added a fall detection feature that uses onboard motion sensors to detect when a person has taken a hard fall, either because of a medical condition or an accident. The watch not only recognizes the fall, but it also intervenes to seek help for the owner.

After a fall is detected, the same motion sensors will be used to identify if the wearer is moving. It also will sound an alarm for others to hear and send an alert to the Apple Watch for the wearer to see. If the wearer is not moving and no one is responding to alerts, the watch will call 911 automatically.

Once connected to emergency services, the Apple Watch will play an automated message with the user’s GPS location. The first message will be at full volume, so dispatch and nearby people can hear it. When the second message plays, the Apple Watch will reduce the volume so that a good samaritan can talk to first responders. It also will send text messages with the user’s location to all designated emergency contacts.

How to Turn on/off Fall Detection

The Apple Watch fall detection feature is turned on automatically if the Apple Watch owner enters his or her age during set up and is over the age of 55. Users also can turn on this feature manually following the steps below.

  1. Open the Apple Watch app on the iPhone, then tap the My Watch tab.
  2. Tap Emergency SOS.
  3. Turn Fall Detection on or off using the toggle.
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