Family rescued from wildfires in Maui thanks to iPhone’s Emergency SOS via Satellite


With iPhone 14, Apple introduced Emergency SOS via Satellite, which lets users contact emergency services in places where there’s no cellular connection. This feature has already proven to save lives since its launch, and it continues to do so. Earlier this week, a family was rescued from wildfires in Maui thanks to the iPhone’s Emergency SOS via Satellite.

iPhone 14’s satellite feature helps family amid forest fire

As shared by Michael J. Miraflor on X, his brother’s girlfriend’s cousin and his family were in a vehicle when the wildfires “suddenly erupted around them.” There were five people inside a white van, but none of them could call for help as there was no cell phone service in that area.

But luckily, one of the people in the van had an iPhone 14, and that made all the difference in them being able to be rescued from that fire. “Apple Emergency SOS was the only way they could get in contact with first responders. Literally saved their lives,” said Miraflor.

When a user triggers Emergency SOS, iPhone asks a few questions about the situation until it connects with the satellites – as this can take a few minutes. Then, all this information is sent to relay centers where specialists call for help on behalf of the user. The entire transcript can also be shared with the user’s emergency contacts, and that’s exactly what happened in this case.

In a screenshot shared by Miraflor, we can see how the information was sent to a relay center. The iPhone owner reported that the fire was “all around” them and that their vision was blocked. The iPhone automatically shared the user’s location with the relay center and emergency contacts.

When the relay center received all the details, a specialist confirmed that the fire department had been informed about the situation and that first responders were on their way. The family was successfully rescued from the forest fire about 30 minutes after requesting for help.

More about Emergency SOS via Satellite

The feature has been described as a “game changer” by search and rescue teams, and has been credited with a number of helicopter rescues.

In June, a hiker with a broken leg was rescued by a helicopter after using the satellite connectivity on her iPhone to call for help. Also recently, a man was rescued from a car accident thanks to Crash Detection and Emergency SOS via Satellite, as both features work together.

Emergency SOS via Satellite is currently available in the US, Canada, UK, France, Germany, Ireland, Austria, Belgium, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Portugal. It works with any iPhone 14 or iPhone 14 Pro model, as long as you’re in a location covered by satellite connectivity.

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