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Sheriff asking visitors, residents to consider changing auto emergency call settings

GRANITE COUNTY - In an email sent December 30, 2022, Granite County Sheriff Scott Dunkerson is asking residents and visitors to the area to consider changing how their phone makes automatic 911 calls.

"The Granite County Sheriff’s office has received numerous accidental 911 calls from people skiing at Discovery Ski area," said Dunkerson in his email. "We would like to keep the 911 lines we do have open for actual emergencies and this has become more problematic this year."

Dunkerson included an article from CNET,com (LINK) that shows how you can change the setting to require five presses or another manual input method.

Smart watches are also making these kind of calls, even alerting 911 when a skier falls down or a hiker slips during a walk.

"They'd actually be better of calling sky patrol if they fall because that's what we're going to do if we get the call," said Dunkerson when speaking about the incidents Tuesday night. "It'll just save them time."

KPAX recently ran a story about this very issue at Discovery Ski Area. (LINK).

The Granite County Sheriff's Department, along with many law enforcement offices around the country, are linked to the Text 911 program and can be reached in that manner in case of an actual emergency.

Misuse of the 911 Emergency Call System in Montana is covered by the Montana Code Annotated (MCA) 5.21, with section 5>21.040 detailing that abusers could be fined as much as $1,000.

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