EENA Urges Apple to Add Precise Location Sharing Support For Emergency Calls on iPhones

Apple - Emergency Services

AML or Advanced Mobile Location was enabled on the Android platform last year (AEL) and has already saved hundreds of lives in regions where its use is permitted. The EENA (European Emergency Number Association) which represents nearly 1,300 emergency service operatives from about 80 countries is now urging Apple to implement this feature on iPhones to possibly help and save lives of people in danger.

Given how sensitive Apple is about privacy, it’s understandable as to why it hasn’t been implemented yet. However, the EENA claims that the location is only shared when a user dials the emergency number for a particular region.

Once dialed, the location is only shared for 30 seconds or so. By using AML, emergency service operatives are given the precise location, which is about 4000 times more accurate than conventional location tracking methods that use a combination of WiFi signals and triangulation of mobile signals. Carriers have an equally important role to play in the enabling of AML.

AEL or Android Emergency Location is currently available in Austria, Estonia, Iceland, Lithuania, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom, so its reach is pretty limited right now.

With AML, when an emergency call is made the phone automatically sends the precise location using GPS and WiFi. The location is said to be so precise that it can help narrow down users within individual rooms of a building.

Experts estimate that the service could save about 7500 lives over the next ten years if this feature is implemented by Apple. The EENA talked about some of the incidents where AML saved lives of the citizens.

A 112 emergency call was dialled from small town in Estonia. The callers were children who informed the call-taker that the toaster is on fire. They were not aware of their exact address; they knew the street name and flat number but not the house number. The call-taker used the location information she received with Emergency Location Service and she quickly found the right house. The Estonian 112 service gave a dispatch order to rescue and ambulance units who quickly arrived to the scene and helped the children.

New Zealand police received a call from a person having suicidal thoughts. The only information that the call-taker could get while speaking with the person was that the caller was next to a train station without knowing which one exactly. Thanks to AML, emergency services obtained a very accurate location information (4m. radius) and found that the caller was on the rail tracks. Train control was immediately alerted and police was dispatched on site to save the person.

Apple is yet to comment on the matter, but we should hear more from the company in the days to come.

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[Via EENA]

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