Apple Watch fall detection saves Florida woman’s life by calling 911

Apple Watch saves Florida woman’s life by calling 911 after hard fall


Apple Watch fall detection works on Series 4 and Series 5.
Apple Watch fall detection can save you if you’re knocked unconscious.
Photo: Apple/Cult of Mac

Raylene Hackenwerth received an Apple Watch as a gift.. a gift that she says saved her life. The wearable called 911 for her after it detected she had taken a very bad fall. And that’s just the start.

Fall detection is a feature of every model since Apple Watch Series 4.

Apple Watch fall detection to the rescue

The fall was severe enough that Hackenwerth has no memory of it. Her son told ABC Action News Tampa Bay, “My mom’s Apple Watch alerted my phone so I received a text that there was a hard fall.”

When its wearer was unresponsive after the fall, the Watch called 911 on its own. Paramedics arrived and took the woman — who was still barely conscious — to the hospital.

And that’s not the end of the story. In the hospital, doctors discovered that Hackenwerth has lung cancer. “If it hadn’t been for the falling and the Apple Watch calling them, I wouldn’t even know this was there,” she told ABC Action News Tampa Bay.

Watch the video report from the local news service:

Enabling Apple Watch fall detection

Apple Watch Series 4 and newer can sense if a wearer has fallen. It will then try to determine if the person is injured. There’re audible and inaudible alerts, along with an on-screen message asking if the wearer is OK.

Apple explains what happens next:

“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.”

After calling 911, the Watch will then send a text message to notify the wearer’s emergency contacts, along with the injured person’s location.

To enable fall detection, open the Apple Watch app on the iPhone associated with the wearable, then tap the My Watch tab.  Tap Emergency SOS and turn Fall Detection on (or off, if desired).

This is just one of many stories about the health advantages of Apple’s wrist-worn computer. Many of these relate to the ECG built into the wearable, but not all.


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