Do you agree that apps can be the future of emergency 911 calls?


The equivalent of the 911 emergency number in the US is 112 on the other side of the pond, and the European Emergency Number Association (EENA), which created the pan-EU number, now argues that there can be an app for that.


At a recent conference, it touted the Pan-European Mobile Emergency App (PEMEA) not only as a supplementary way to reach the emergency authorities, but argued that the whole point of contact with them can be replaced by an app altogether. Granted, Android and iOS already offer Advanced Mobile Location (AML) services, sending the best geolocation your phone can muster to emergency services when you call the local number, yet the creator of the PEMEA app argues that:


It's not hard to deduce why an app may be better suited to be your emergency contact intermediary - we often rely on instinct in such situations, and tapping an icon is easier than initiating a call, while a video stream within the app is worth a thousand of your stressed-out, mumbled words. 

That is why we wanted to ask you if you would consider a similar idea to be suitable for the 911 centers in the US as well. The text-to-911 initiative was years in the making, after all, but is now gaining steam, and rising in popularity among the public, and an app may be the logical development, what do you think?

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10 Comments

1. cmdacos

Posts: 4264; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

If your data is off, how's this going to work?

6. NarutoKage14

Posts: 1327; Member since: Aug 31, 2016

The app should first attempt a phone call and once that goes through it should attempt to switch to a video call if there is a strong enough connection. It could also start with a video call that only transmits audio at first and then video if the connection is strong.

9. gamehead unregistered

When parts of your phone is "off" they're not really "off". NSA has taught me this

2. airisoverrated

Posts: 55; Member since: Jun 08, 2012

Right now networks prioritize phone calls, and you get better coverage to place a call than you do for network data. Maybe an app would be a good compliment to traditional 911, but it's no replacement. That said in some areas of our country it's possible for 911 calls to go to voicemail, so anything would be better than that.

8. libra89

Posts: 2297; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

+1 to your comment.

3. semipro1337

Posts: 113; Member since: Oct 01, 2012

Nope, not until network coverage is 99% reliable throughout the entire United states, in rural areas where data coverage is little to non existant. Voice doesnt work in a lot of those areas either. This is a bad idea in all aspects.

4. An.Awesome.Guy

Posts: 636; Member since: Jan 12, 2015

And how exactly are you going to open the app? would you try to search for it , think when lly if you have many apps and added a new icon set yesterday. Don't tell me that you can open it from lock screen, a lot of people doesn't use lock screen, just saying. Maybe a better solution is to open the app simultaneously when you call 112 or 911.

5. isprobi

Posts: 797; Member since: May 30, 2011

Mobile apps are often poorly written and you have to find it among all your other apps. They certainly can provide supplemental information but voice call should remain the primary.

7. NarutoKage14

Posts: 1327; Member since: Aug 31, 2016

The app is a good idea but it's only in the beginning stages. It needs to be integrated into devices and have native support from virtual assistants. Call centers need to receive the necessary tech upgrades. The app needs to link to the dialer to first place a phone call and be able to seamlessly switch to a video call if the signal is strong enough. It must be easily accessible without the need to search for it in the app drawer/list. Until it is as reliable as a phone call then it cannot replace it.

10. L0n3n1nja

Posts: 1578; Member since: Jul 12, 2016

At a recent conference, it touted the Pan-European Mobile Emergency App (PEMEA) not only as a supplementary way to reach the emergency authorities, but argued that the whole point of contact with them can be replaced by an app altogether.  So if you don't have the right kind of smart phone you won't have access to emergency services? Landlines, flip phones, the remaining windows phones, etc won't be able to have the app. Sounds like an idea that would come from tide pod eating kids.

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