Woman Saves Her Own Life by Calling 911 on Her AirPods After Falling: 'I Would Have Died'

·3 min read
Susan Putman
Susan Putman

Susan Putman Susan Putman

Susan Putman can usually be found in her Bernardsville, New Jersey studio with her AirPods in, bopping along to music and calling up family and friends to chat as she works on floral arrangements.

That's what the 60-year-old designer at Round Top Resources Floral Design was up to on Oct. 15, when she had a freak accident, tripping in her garage studio and hitting her head on a sharp metal pole.

"I was working on a four-foot horseshoe wreath, and I stepped back to look at it and I forgot its box was sitting on the floor," Putman tells PEOPLE. "I must have been very conscious about not smashing the wreath because I tripped and flew maybe 8 ft. in the air and my head landed against these metal poles."

Putman isn't sure if she lost consciousness or not, but she remembers coming to and realizing she was heavily bleeding, with no one around to call for help. That's when she realized she had her AirPods in, and could use Siri to call 911.

"When I reached to my head and felt that it was bleeding, I realized that my AirPods were in," she says. "There was a lot of blood and I freaked out, but I immediately said, 'Hey Siri, call 911.' "

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Susan Putman
Susan Putman

Susan Putman Susan Putman

That worked, and Putman was connected with a 911 operator who stayed on the line until police and paramedics arrived.

"The only thing I remember is the two police guys getting there and one is holding a towel to my head, and he says to the other one to tell the ambulance to get there right now because I was losing a lot of blood," she says. "Honestly, if it had been another 15 minutes, I'm not sure I'd be here. There's no doubt about it — if I didn't have my AirPods in, I would've died."

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Putman was quickly taken to the hospital where doctors put seven staples across the side of her head, and diagnosed her with a concussion. She spent the next month and a half unable to look at any screens, like her phone or the TV, without getting nauseous, but found that she could get back into her studio and work on floral arrangements — AirPods in and music playing.

Susan Putman
Susan Putman

Susan Putman Susan Putman

In the months since, Putman has been sharing her story with friends and family, and found that most didn't know they could use Siri on their AirPods to make a call.

"I have a 25- and 27-year-old daughter, and they had no idea," she says. "I've had so many friends buy AirPods as a result of this and learn how to use Siri."

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But it "really bothered" Putman that more people didn't know about this capability, and happened to mention her experience during a random call with Apple Support for help with her iPad. She asked how someone would tell their story to Apple, and the technician told her to email CEO Tim Cook directly.

Putman was in disbelief that it would work, but decided to give it a shot one Sunday morning, on Jan. 2. Ten minutes later, she got a response and is now sharing her experience widely.

"I just think spreading the word is a really good thing," she says. "Hopefully this might help somebody else."