“It’s an emergency – get me out of here!!”

This isn’t exactly a legal issue, but I had reason to investigate emergency contact arrangements for a client recently.  And it seems Smartphones aren’t that smart when it comes to 000.  And so I learned something quite surprising, an important detail many of us have probably never considered.

Did you know if you call 000 from a landline then the operator has access to the address where the call has been made from but it’s not the same with mobile phones?  They don’t have automatic GPS functionality and require the use of an app to enable operators to locate you.

A recent study showed that as many as 66% of 000 emergency calls were made from mobile phones; however, the callers often do not know exactly where they are.

It’s pretty obvious that determining where you are is the most critical piece of information emergency operators need. If callers don’t know where they are, emergency services can’t send help.

Emergency+ is an app that can help.  The Emergency+ app is available to download free of charge from emergencyapp.triplezero.gov.au The Emergency+ app is a free app developed by Australia's emergency services, Government and industry partners.

The app uses GPS functionality built into smart phones to help a 000 caller provide critical location details required to mobilise emergency services.

Using the Emergency+ smartphone app to call 000 means you don’t have to know how to find the relevant GPS data on your phone.  The app presents your location on your screen automatically, so you can provide it verbally.  When activated, the built-in accessibility features will describe aloud what appears on-screen, so you can use the app without seeing it. 

There are other emergency apps available as well. For instance Medical ID allows you to writes a profile that will enable quick access to vital medical information e.g. blood type allergies etc. that will assist the emergency services staff.

There are many emergency safety apps for smartphones and wearable devices (sometimes also called personal safety alarms). An app will use any phone network in an emergency but it doesn’t work without an active phone network. If you live somewhere that doesn’t have very good mobile coverage you would still probably be best to use a Personal safety alarm.

If you have any questions about this, or any other aspect of your estate planning please contact us.



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