911 Experience in Nye County, Nevada

So there we were, traveling from California through Nevada, on our way to Death Valley National Park. We had spent the previous day in Carson City, which is where John grew up, visiting his oldest brother and family. After a yummy dinner, we drove to Walker Lake to overnight in a BLM campground. All was well.

My new iPhone 15 was tucked on its side between my binocs and water bottle in the dashboard storage area; we purchased those new phones for their satellite capabilities, knowing that we’d be out of cell service range for some of our travels, and hoped to have a connection were an emergency to occur. Truthfully, I hadn’t bothered to learn much about the new phone. It turns out that if one of the side buttons is pushed five times in succession, a 911 call is initiated. Although I do not recall the road being particularly bouncy, it must have been, as the side button was activated.

My phone rang harshly–differently than a routine call–and yikes was I surprised to see Nye County Sheriff as the caller. I didn’t even know that we were in Nye County! I did not accept the call, because I was unaware of what had transpired on my phone. The harsh ring came again, so this time I picked up the call:

Me: This is Robin.

Dispatcher: This is Nye County Sheriff Department, we received a 911 call from this phone.

Me: Oh! I did not make that call! I have not touched my phone recently…

Dispatcher: You may have a phone that alerts 911 if a side button is pushed repeatedly–we’ve had this happen previously.

Me: Hmmm, my phone was indeed lying on its side, so I guess the button could have been “pushed” as we were driving?

Dispatcher: Are you alright? Is there an emergency?

Me: No! We are fine. My husband and I are driving on our way to Death Valley. Pardon the bother…

Dispatcher: No bother, but I do need to follow protocol for this 911 alert; please turn on your camera to show me a 360 degree view of your surroundings!

Me: (fumbling with my phone, somehow nervous now). Ok, here you go, we are at a gas station actually, here is the view.

Dispatcher: Good, thank you. Now, please turn the camera around so that I may see your face and your personal surroundings. This is to ensure that NO ONE IS HOLDING YOU HOSTAGE DURING THIS CALL!

Me: (more fumbling). Here I am (smiling and waving), all safe and sound. (nervously) My husband and I just retired, and we are in our new camper van traveling around. Now I know to lay my phone flat to avoid this experience from occurring again! Thank you for following up so diligently.

Dispatcher: Yes, this does happen by accident, just take care. Safe travels!

What an unusual experience! The things a person learns, later in life! I had no idea you could push a button five times to alert to an emergency, and just think of how scary it would be to actually be in a dangerous situation requiring a stealth alert being sent. I am writing about it now for posterity! xo



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