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In emergencies, smartphone technology gives you a voice if you can't speak

Smart phones come with emergency technology
Posted at 7:14 AM, May 03, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-03 07:14:22-04

It seems like it'd be pretty easy to call 911 in an emergency. But what if you can't actually talk to the dispatcher because it could tip off where you're hiding or that you're in danger? Smartphone technology is giving you a way to do that without saying a word.

Maybe you're in the back of a taxi or a ride share and you want to need to get help or at least let somebody know where you are. Or maybe you're walking by yourself and something or someone around you is making you feel a little uncomfortable. A few taps on your phone and help can be on the way.

We know our cell phones can make calls. But if you need help, they can also be your voice if you can't speak.

It's called Emergency SOSand it comes installed on Apple iPhones. If you have a newer model you hold the side button and one of the volume buttons. If you have an older model, you press the side button five times in a row. Either way the emergency sos slider pops up. You slide it, and a call goes straight to your local emergency dispatch.

Agent Dutch Smith with the Lakewood Police Department says this type of technology can be very helpful. 

When the service is used, the person does not have to say a word, and it shows the dispatcher the number and most importantly, the location.

"We can do triangulation to try and find out where you live," Smith said. "So basically what you're doing is you're pinging off the cell towers to find out exactly where the call came from."

From there, your information is automatically sent to law enforcement on the ground closest to you, so they can head out to help.

"It may be a life or death situation involving where you need police response," Agent Smith said. "Location is paramount for us to be able to get there in a timely fashion to be able to deal with whatever has been called in."

When the call ends, it even sends a text to your emergency contacts. But dispatchers ask that you only use this tool when you really need help, not to test it out.

Taking the phone beyond a tool that helps you in every facet of life, to one that could help law enforcement potentially save it.

"I think it's two fold," Agent Smith said. "It really can help us all out."

Samsung's Galaxy Android phone has a similar emergency mode, but you need to set it up by going into settings section, and "privacy and security." When activated, it'll also take a picture of where you are send it to your emergency contacts and record for five seconds.

In addition to what comes with your smart phone you can also find emergency apps that you can download as well.