On the Service Formerly Known as Twitter, Michael J. Miraflor posted:
My brother’s girlfriend’s cousin and his family were caught in their vehicle in Maui while the wildfires suddenly erupted around them.
No cell service, so Apple Emergency SOS was the only way they could get in contact with first responders. Literally saved their lives.
I can’t even imagine what these 34 minutes of hell must have been like. Emergency SOS is magic (see “Testing Emergency SOS and Find My via Satellite,” 21 November 2022), but while the iPhone walks you through using it, doing so successfully while trapped in a van with fire all around would have been nerve-wracking. Two additional thoughts:
- The iPhone user’s emergency contact must have been simultaneously horrified and relieved to receive this chat, presumably after it ended.
- Particularly for younger people, the emergency services dispatcher typing in all caps might have been additionally stressful.
Regardless, kudos to Apple for developing Emergency SOS via satellite, to the iPhone 14 user for keeping a cool head under pressure, to the emergency services dispatchers, and to the actual fire department for making the rescue.
I hope stories like this encourage Apple to make the Emergency SOS via satellite feature usage-based in some way after its initial 2-year free period. No one would subscribe in advance because they expected to be caught in a wildfire in a historic Hawaiian beach town.