9-1-1 is there to help during an emergency, but there are plenty of emergency apps, tools, and accessories that can help your local agency. Of course, the best way to reach 9-1-1 is still a voice call (followed by a text message if it’s available in your area), but using one of these resources can help 9-1-1 telecommunicators help you.
This information is provided through the RapidSOS, which is not an emergency app but a company that supplies a database to store additional information for 9-1-1 telecommunicators and is free to use for participating agencies. However, not all PSAPs utilize RapidSOS, though they are found in 4,700 PSAPs in the United States. All of PSAPs within the NCT9-1-1 service area are equipped to access RapidSOS. If you are unsure whether your local agency can utilize this data, you can always call them on their 10-digit number.
What3Words is a free mobile application that you can download to help identify your location and the locations of relevant landmarks, either in an emergency or just in general. They’ve divided the world into parking-space size squares and assigned three words to each square. For example, The Alamo in San Antonio has been assigned Axed.Limbs.Hops. By sending those three words to a friend or to a 9-1-1 call taker, they can plug the information into the desktop application to identify your location. You can look up the three words for your home address here.
Of course, this information is only useful if a 9-1-1 call taker is able to look up what location coordinates with the three words. The emergency number industry is starting to integrate this application with its tools, and NCT9-1-1 will soon implement a mapping platform that uses What3Words.
iPhones offer an in-house Health App that can be used to document pre-existing conditions, medications, and other information on your medical ID profile. You can also choose to have your medical ID information displayed on the lockscreen, which includes your name, age, and emergency contacts.
PSAPs who opt in to receive the information from the emergency health app will be able to view it during a 911 call and it is also seen if the Apple Watch fall detection feature is activated. Again, this information is only available to some PSAPs, so it’s still important to relay your medical information to the call taker during an emergency when possible.
The jewelry brand sells necklaces, bracelets, and keychains that include charms with hidden panic buttons. By pressing the back of the charm twice, an alert is sent via the InvisaWear app to five emergency contacts chosen by the wearer. These contacts receive a GPS location and S.O.S alert in a text message, and there is also an optional contact 9-1-1 feature.
There are a lot of emergency accessory brands that claim to reach 9-1-1 if activated, but it’s difficult to prove if the claims are true. InvisaWear is another organization that has partnered with RapidSOS, meaning agencies that utilize the services provided by RapidSOS have access to InvisaWear alerts.
A 9-1-1 telecommunicator will do whatever they can to identify your location and get help to you, but by downloading these emergency apps or utilizing one of the tools, you can get important information into the 9-1-1 agency faster.