A Call for Help

First Alert's safety app on display at the 2016 CES in Las Vegas. Photo PNO Staff.
Online Exclusive posted Thursday, January 7, 2016 - 12:05pm

You've just had a car accident or have fallen out of your wheelchair. How quickly and easily can you contact family and friends for help?

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A new safety application (app) from First Alert is promising to make that unfortunate emergency call as easy as a tap or voice command.

Debuting at this week’s annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Onelink Safety is an app that allows you to quickly and efficiently alert up to five people when and exactly where you need assistance. When help is needed, the app is activated via a Siri voice command or a tap on a connected Apple Watch or iPhone. It automatically alerts your pre-set group of your need for help, and sends them your profile and a full address through live GPS tracking. It also triggers an audible alarm on your iPhone and causes it to flash for added visibility. Your group is notified of your need whether they have an Apple device or not.

First Alert's safety app screens. Image provided by First Alert.

“The most important part is we’ve really made it a simple, clean-looking app because in a panic situation you don’t want anything distracting you,” says First Alert Product Manager Danielle Russo. “Sending out a simple text message sometimes just isn’t feasible in a panic state.”

During the emergency your family and friends can respond to your request for help by calling or texting with a number of prompted pre-set responses, including “Are you OK?,” “On my way” or “I’m calling 911.” You then have the option to choose from a number of pre-set indicators, including “I need help” or “I’m not hurt.” A future version of the app will allow you to create your own alert messages. Onelink Safety also lets you send a simple notification such as “I’m here” when you just need to let your group know you’ve arrived someplace safely.  

The “Self Monitoring” option of the app is set to be available through the Apple App Store within the next four to six weeks for $1.99 a month. The five people you select to receive an alert get the app for free. Russo says that a “Professional Monitoring” option that will allow you to speak with an agent at a 24/7 monitoring center will be available this spring. Pricing for that service hasn’t been set yet. She also notes that First Alert has plans to add a sensor to the app that will allow it to tell when you’ve fallen and automatically alert your group or emergency personnel.

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A Call for Help


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