Setting up fall detection on your Apple Watch

Fall detection on the Apple Watch is a major safety feature for older people whose very life can depend on not falling. Often the inactivity required as part of the recovery from a fall can bring on respiratory ailments and more. Trick is to avoid falling in the first place. But, if you can’t do that, at least avoid laying down for hours or days waiting for help.

How to set up fall detection on your Apple Watch

By Malcolm Owen
Wednesday, November 06, 2019, 11:36 am PT (02:36 pm ET) The fall detection feature of the Apple Watch has been credited with helping emergency services get to an unconscious driver following a collision —here’s how to set it up.

A tweet from the Surrey Police in the United Kingdom advises there was an incident on local roads one week prior, where a driver had been “involved in a collision” and “had been knocked unconscious.” In the tweet, the police reveal there was a response to an alert generated by the Apple Watch’s fall detection feature, which sent GPS data to emergency responders guiding them to the injured party.

Surrey Police advised to AppleInsider the man “remains in hospital in a serious, but stable condition.” An appeal for witnesses further describes him as aged in his “early 30s,” with the incident occurring at just after 2am GMT on November 2 at Gatton Park Road, Redhill.

In a follow-up tweet, the Surrey Police advise Apple Watch owners to consider setting up fall detection on their devices, as well as how to set up their medical ID, which can help emergency services identify the individual and to warn of existing medical conditions.

This is not the first time the Apple Watch’s fall detection has been praised for saving a life. In April, an 80-year-old Munich woman was given assistance after the Apple Watch detected her fall in her apartment, while an 87-year-old woman in Maine was rescued by emergency services following a car accident in June.

Fall detection is available for anyone to set up on the Apple Watch Series 4 and Series 5, but it is disabled by default for users under the age of 65. For people aged 65 or over, fall detection is automatically offered to be enabled as part of the setup process.

How to set up fall detection on your Apple Watch

  • Open the Watch app on the iPhone linked to the Apple Watch in question
  • Select the My Watch tab
  • Tap Emergency SOS
  • Tap the toggle next to “Fall Detection”

Once enabled, the Apple Watch will attempt to alert users to a detected fall, and ask if they are fine. If there is no response, it will attempt to further alert the user with a tap of the wrist and an alarm sound, before it calls the emergency services.

Apple does warn of the presence of false positives, where an action by the user could be misinterpreted as a fall. The more physically active the wearer, the more likely the feature will be triggered, especially for high-impact activities.

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