It was a harrowing situation that could happen to anyone. A 38-year-old man driving alone at night on a dark road in Martin County swerved to avoid an animal and crashed into a canal, where his vehicle lspannded upside-down spannd hspanlf-submerged. He was trapped, and water started flooding the vehicle.
Fortunately, Martin County Sheriff’s Office deputies quickly arrived and got him out, because the man’s phone detected the crash and automatically texted his location to 911.
You may not realize it but your iPhone or Android phone is capable of a lot more than taking selfies, playing games and sometimes even calling someone. You can contact emergency services in a variety of ways, or your phone can do it for you even if you’re incapacitated or unable to reach it.
Here’s how to set it up.
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SETTING UP YOUR iPHONE
How do I call emergency services on my iPhone?
You have multiple wspanys to cspanll 911 on your iPhone.
- Dial 911.
- Simultaneously press and hold the side power button and either volume button until the sliders appear, and then swipe the Emergency SOS slider.
- If you have Call with Hold and Release turned on in Settings > Emergency SOS, you can just hold the side power button and either volume button to start a countdown to call emergency services.
- Rapidly press the side power button five times to start a countdown to call emergency services (this also needs to be activated in Settings > Emergency SOS).
- Tap “Emergency” on the passcode screen.
- Open the Messages app and text your emergency to 9aa.
- If you have Siri activated to listen say “Hey Siri, call 911.” (Useful if you can’t reach the phone.)
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How does automatic crash detection work on my iPhone?
Crspansh Detection is designed to recognize severe vehicle crashes. If you’re in a bad car crash, your iPhone or Apple Watch will display “It looks like you’ve been in a crash.” If you haven’t started a call or dismissed the message after 10 seconds, your iPhone will start whooping at you and vibrating to get your attention and a new 10-second countdown will begin to call emergency services.
If you can call 911 yourself you can cancel this warning or let it go ahead and call. If you are unable to respond, after 10 seconds your iPhone will call 911 and text them your last known coordinates.
If you have your emergency contact set up, your iPhone also will send them a message about your crash, with your location.
If you have your Medical ID set up on your iPhone, that slider will be displayed so first responders can see your medical information.
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How do I turn on automatic crash detection on my iPhone?
It’s already on, for supported iPhones and Apple Watches (iPhone 14 and 14 Pro and up; Apple Watch Series 8, Apple Watch SE [2nd generation] and Apple Watch Ultra) with the latest version of iOS and watchOS.
If you’d rather turn it off, go to Emergency SOS in the Settings app and turn off Call After Severe Crash.
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How do I set up emergency settings on my iPhone?
Knowing your medical situation can help first responders react more quickly and with more information.
- Open your Health app and tap your profile picture.
- Select Medical ID > Get Started or Edit, and enter any health information a first responder needs to know.
- Tap Emergency Contact and add contact info for a loved one or someone you trust.
- In the Emergency Access section, turn on Show When Locked and Share During Emergency Call.
SETTING UP YOUR ANDROID PHONE
iPhones get the press, but Google Pixel phones have had crash detection for some time now. It’s been slow rolling out to other Android phones, though. It was only with the Android 13 update last year that the Personal Safety app arrived on non-Pixel phones and it’s still an option that manufacturers can choose to offer so check your model for availability. Crash detection currently is limited to Pixels.
How do I call emergency services on my Android phone?
Androids and the Android Personal Safety app have a variety of ways to call for help, but they may change depending on the model of phone you have. Check with your manufacturer for the methods available to you. Here are some of the common ones.
- Dial 911.
- Press the power button five times or more. This starts a 5-second countdown before it calls emergency services for you. To cancel, swipe Cancel to the right.
- If your phone is set to listen, say “Hey Google, call 911.”
- Activate Emergency mode by swiping down from the top of the screen with two fingers to get the Quick setting panel. Tap the Power icon, and then Emergency mode. Tap Turn on. This gives you a limited screen with the flashlight app, an emergency alarm, the phone app, and a Message my location button.
- Simultaneously press and hold the Power and Volume Down buttons to enter Emergency mode.
During your call, if you have a Pixel or some Android phones, you can tap a Medical, Fire or Police button to text important information like your location. You also can set up your phone to automatically share your location and turn on video recording when you call emergency services.
Set up automatic location sharing by opening your Settings app and following these steps.
- Tap Location and then Location services and then Emergency Location Service or Google Emergency Location Service.
- Turn Emergency Location Service or Google Emergency Location Service on or off.
To turn on emergency recording, go to Safety & emergency > Use Emergency SOS > Record emergency video and turn it on. Video will record for 45 minutes unless you stop it and you can continue to use your phone while it records. You also can choose to share those videos with your emergency contacts if you wish.
How does automatic crash detection work on my Android phone?
Again, this only works on Google Pixels after Pixel 3, although it may be available to other Android phones soon.
After you crash, your phone will vibrate and sound an alarm to get your attention. “I’m OK” and “Emergency” options will display, and you can tap one of them as needed. If you don’t respond within 60 seconds, your phone will automatically contact emergency services to tell them you’ve crashed and provide your location.
How do I turn on automatic crash detection on my Android phone?
Open your Safety app and click on the Settings icon at the top left. Scroll down and select Car crash detection, and turn it on. It will ask for permission to access your location, microphone and physical activity, so agree to those.
How do I set up emergency settings on my Android phone?
These steps may vary depending on what phone you’re using.
- Go to Settings > Safety & emergency.
- Tap Medical Information to add details like name, blood type, allergies, and medications.
- At the bottom of this screen turn on To help in an emergency, people can view this info without unlocking your device.
- Go to Safety & Emergency settings > Emergency Contacts > Add Contact and add a loved one or someone you trust.