New iPhone Emergency SOS Works in Missoula, Though Not Precisely
In September, Apple released IOS 11 for products like the iPhone, the new update includes Emergency SOS software that is accessible by clicking the power button five times and then swiping to call emergency services. The service is supposed to call 911 and send emergency responders a GPS location. Nick Holloway with Missoula Emergency Services tested the software and says it works, though not precisely.
"It does give us some location information, but it doesn't necessarily give us precise location information," Holloway said. "When we tested it, it was about two-tenths of a mile off, which, certainly can be helpful and it might not always be that distance off, it might be closer or farther, but that certainly would be helpful in an emergency situation."
Of course, not everyone owns an iPhone, Holloway advises all Missoulians to register with Smart 911, which can be used no matter who makes your phone.
"Smart 911 allows users to create a safety profile that will pop up on a 911 dispatcher's screen when you call 911 and that will include what we call critical care information," Holloway said. "That info will rise to the top, allowing us tor relay that information to responders en-route to an emergency. It also allows us to send out reverse alerts, and we used it extensively this year, during the wildfires."
Signing up for Smart 911 can be done at www.Smart911.com. The system not only gives emergency responders more information about those they are trying to help, it allows smart 911 users to receive warnings, like evacuation notices quicker.