A new update is making its way to certain Android users, and it could potentially be a lifesaver. Users with an Android device equipped with the Personal Safety app now have the option to share vital medical information with first responders when placing a call or sending a text to 911. This feature, available since the rollout of iOS 13.5 in 2020 for iPhone and Apple Watch users, is now extending its reach to Android devices.
Android users can input essential information such as their name, allergies, emergency contacts, and preexisting medical conditions. Tenea Reddick, the ECC director at the Baltimore City Fire Department, highlighted the significance of this feature, stating, “This is when the information you put inside your phone becomes useful to 911. This information is available to use before the dispatch, and before the responders arrive. It saves so much time because we already know what we’re responding to and what we need.” This feature proves particularly valuable in situations where the person contacting 911 may be unable to communicate effectively.
As of now, this feature is exclusive to Androids equipped with the Personal Safety app, including devices like the Nothing Phone 1 and the Google Pixel 4 through Google Pixel 8 Pro. Users of these devices can activate the feature by navigating to the “Your info” section of the Personal Safety app. From there, they can click on “Emergency info access” and then select “Share during emergency call.”
Both Android and Apple services are managed by RapidSOS, a safety platform that securely shares critical information during crises with over 16,000 911 and field responder agencies. Apple users have access to Medical ID, a feature in the Health app that, akin to Android’s Personal Safety app, stores information such as blood type, emergency contacts, allergies, and preexisting medical conditions. RapidSOS shares this data with first responders, who can also determine a person’s location in areas with Enhanced Emergency Data services when they call 911. Android users have had the capability to send location data through RapidSOS since 2018.