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Butt-dialing anglers to blame for increase in 911 calls in northern MN

The sheriff's office says anglers are accidentally hitting the emergency sos buttons on their phones, which calls 911.

A sheriff in northern Minnesota is reminding anglers to be careful where they put their phone when they crouch over an ice hole. 

The warning isn't to help prevent the phone from falling in the lake – it's so they stop unintentionally calling 911. 

The Beltrami County Sheriff's Office posted on Facebook Dec. 5 asking people to be aware of the emergency activation on their cell phones after the 911 call center has been taking "a large number of pocket and 'butt dial' 911 calls."

"Crouching over an ice hole with your phone in your pocket can press the magic call 911 buttons," the post states. "We don't mind the fishing reports, but let's reserve 911 for emergencies."

Many of the calls came from people's pockets while they were on Upper Red Lake, the sheriff's office said. Anglers flocked to the lake – one of few with a solid sheet of ice – over the weekend, causing traffic jams in northern Minnesota. 

Some smartphones have an emergency SOS feature that if you press a button enough times, it'll automatically call 911. For iPhones, it'll call 911 if you rapidly press the side button five times. 

iPhones and other smartphones allow you to turn this feature off in settings, which may be a good idea if you're crouching over a hole with your phone jammed in your pocket. 

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