California Partners with Apple on Satellite-Enabled Emergency Services


Part of comprehensive effort to enhance emergency service technologies and provide Californians the tools they need during an emergency

As part of the state’s continued efforts to provide California communities with the resources they need to stay safe during an emergency, the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) partnered with Apple to provide direct-to-consumer satellite emergency services.

Known as Emergency SOS via satellite, this innovative safety service utilizes Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) operated by Cal OES, enabling iPhone 14 model users to send a message by satellite during an emergency when outside cellular and wi-fi coverage.

“Providing Emergency SOS via satellite is an important breakthrough that will save lives. The critical work being done by Apple to create innovative new solutions to support 911 providers and first responders is a huge step forward in protecting Californians and the broader public during an emergency situation,” said Mark Ghilarducci, the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services’ Director.

This Apple update is part of a multi-faceted effort California has been leading nationwide to provide Californians and visitors with a more advanced 9-1-1 system. Through Cal OES’ work, the system will have increased capacity over the coming years to reduce system outages and downtime, ensure emergency calls are quickly and accurately delivered, and support text to 9-1-1.

How Emergency SOS via Satellite Works

With Emergency SOS via satellite if a user is not able to reach emergency services because no cellular or Wi-Fi coverage is available, the user gets help utilizing a satellite connection. A short questionnaire appears to help the user answer vital questions, of which that information is then transmitted to PSAPs – or emergency service call centers – to ensure they are able to quickly understand a user’s situation and location.

Users will then be connected directly to emergency services that are equipped to receive text messages, or to relay centers with Apple-trained emergency specialists who are ready to contact PSAPs that cannot receive text messages on the user’s behalf.

For users who go off the grid but don’t experience an emergency, this advanced technology also enables them to share their location via satellite with Find My. In the Find My app, users can open the Me tab, swipe up to see My Location via Satellite, and tap Send My Location. The satellite connection on the iPhone 14 lineup also works with other safety features available on iPhone and Apple Watch, including Crash Detection and Fall Detection.

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