The panicked call came into dispatch around 4 a.m.
“My boyfriend is unresponsive,” said the woman on the phone. “He drank too much alcohol. I need an ambulance. I need an ambulance.”
The problem was, she hadn’t called 911 dispatchers. She had called a private ambulance company, and they couldn’t help her.
Meloni Reed was one of the dispatchers that night for Injury Care EMS, a Boise-based company that transports patients from place to place in its fleet of ambulances — helping patients safely get from the hospital to a nursing home, for example.
“I was like, honey, you need to call 911,” Reed said.
Reed and other dispatchers have noticed an alarming number of calls coming in from people with medical emergencies, and they believe it may be due to a problem with Android and Google smartphones.
When an iPhone user tells Siri, “Call an ambulance,” the phone begins to dial 911, with an option to cancel the call if it was a mistake.
But when some Android phones are given that voice command, they pull up a list of ambulance companies. In the Boise area, Injury Care is the first company in that list.
Injury Care EMS owner Dr. Richard Radnovich and his dispatchers suspect that’s why they’re getting a steady trickle of calls meant for 911.
The mistaken calls happen several times a week, dispatchers told the Statesman.