Mobile technology is increasingly being used by police departments and first response units across the United States. Text 911 in particular has proven highly successful, often in emergency situations where texting is the safest option.
Now, emergency responders across the world are following suit. Israel is the latest country to introduce various text message services, but they’ve gone further still, with live video distress call capabilities. The first-of-its kind service could be a real boon not just to citizens in trouble, but as part of evidence gathering that could help convict offenders.
Until now, Israel - like most countries - has used an outdated emergency call system, which only takes voice calls. By not making full use of the technology available to the vast majority of the public, emergency services respond more slowly, with a greater a risk of miscommunication, wasted resources and, ultimately, a citizenry that isn’t as safe as it could be.
Israel sought to improve the situation when it launched its groundbreaking platform across the country earlier this month. It enables emergency operators to see a live video stream of whatever crime or crimes are unfolding, as well as communicate with victims via text message and precisely locate where help is needed.
Available as a phone app, the country hopes to export the technology around the world. And in an unstable geopolitical climate, with mass casualty events unfolding everywhere you look, the potential is obvious - not least in the United States, where some 240 million 911 emergency calls are placed every year. Without geo location technology, the best emergency responders can do (in the event of receiving a call where the caller can’t provide information) is locate the closest cell tower. Accuracy is changeable, and never perfect - a huge problem in an emergency situation where every second counts.