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Thread: Emergency Alert System For Quadriplegics

  1. #1

    Emergency Alert System For Quadriplegics

    As a quadriplegic with limited arm function, I've been looking for an emergency medical alert system that would be voice activated, but without much success. Plus, these systems run anywhere from $21-$39 per month. I did find a voice activated landline phone for about $400, but I found only one review and it was negative.

    Somewhere I read about a new feature in IOS 8 which allows you to wake up an iPhone with the voice command "Hey, Siri". (This works only when the iPhone is on Wi-Fi and plugged into a charger.) From there it's very easy to make a phone call by voice command. I decided that this was the way to go. I chose Ting as my service provider because I knew they would be the least expensive. The monthly fee for one phone and under 100 minutes would only be $9 plus taxes and fees. I created an account on their website and ordered a used iPhone 4S for about $140.

    After I received the phone, activation was easy. I went to settings and activated the Hey, Siri feature. Under Accessibility, I changed the default phone answering to speakerphone. My wife plugged it in next to our bed and used Velcro to attach it to our headboard. It works great! I haven't had to call 911 yet, but I have called a couple of family members to test it out.

    My wife (who is also my caregiver) and I now have a better sense of security with this setup. If I'm in bed and she happens to fall or have an accident, I have a way to contact the outside world. Just thought I would pass this along for anyone else out there looking for a similar solution.

  2. #2
    Senior Member forestranger52's Avatar
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    From a small cabin in the big woods of The Allegheny National Forest, PA
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    Use PHILLIPS LIFELINE but the VA or Medicaid pays through the agency that provides home care. Have wrist button and activate with tooth. Answer incoming calls and they will call anyone. Have question to ask me if activated, in case of bad guys.
    C 5/6 Comp.
    No Tri's or hand function.

    Far better it is to try mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure. Than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much or suffer much, because they live in the grey twilight that knows neither victory or defeat.

    Teddy Roosevelt

  3. #3
    Very cool! One thing that I would consider (and I would not actually TRY this, as if it works it could be bad, giggle) - is that some phones block you from calling 911 except via the keypad. I have a Samsung Intensity 3 that does this (blocks the ability to call 911 except from the handset). This is supposedly a lockout feature to disable "Call 9-1-1" from the command so that people do not accidentally trigger it with their speech when the phone is on Bluetooth.

    What I have done, is collected the non-emergency numbers of the EMS for the counties I'm in, and tucked the non-emergency numbers into phone contacts, just in case. That way, should I have some issue where 911 does not work, (or more frequently, a non-emergency but hazardous situation that needs reporting, such as major road debris) - I am able to select that contact in my phone and the non emergency number is there.

    The other thing you might want to consider is notifying your local 911 / EMS of the phone number and a likely address, so your new phone (and/or iPhone) will automatically populate your registered address. This way, should you have an emergency situation and not be able to speak further, or if something happens to the phone connection after you've called 911, the dispatchers have a better chance of sending help to you.

    A note - ALWAYS state your address as soon as you know you have a dispatcher on the phone. This confirms to dispatch that they do have the right address on screen, and starts help your way a little bit faster. Relying on a registered address is not enough, but it is something should dispatch have nothing else (say you can't speak for example). Also, GPS on any cell phone to 911 is unreliable and depends strongly on the capability of your 911 center that you ring into. Sometimes a GPS notation to 911 can be VERY far off...scary...for what it's worth, for me specifically, if I call a friend on my cell phone from my home...sometimes I can bounce off the local tower for the call - and other times, for no known reason except maybe the wind and how I tip my head, I can bounce off a cell tower probably 150 miles away (check your phone bills). It takes time and technology to attempt to track down a cell phone signal by 911, and the technology may not work well enough...and time is generally not in your favor.

    Sources of this knowledge: I have several family members in EMS, including two 911 dispatchers.

    For what it's worth, while we're on the topic of emergency preparedness (not trying to steal your topic or anything - in fact trying to save you some money) - check in with your county EMS (administrative phone number) to see if there are any fire / medical co-op programs in your county you could get a membership to. Some states and counties have this, where county residents pay a yearly fee (generally nominal - say $70 / year) - and then members are not financially responsible for fire / ambulance bills that the insurance does not pay. The co-op centralized system pays them instead, and/or the ambulance / fire company absorbs the cost. It's really nice to have that sense of financial security, "hey, I got hurt, I need some skilled help (paramedics) - oh, I won't have to pay anything, I have co-op." Certainly if you have multiple calls or abuse the system the co-op has rules to give them rights (generally assessing you some portion of the fee) - but that's a rare issue.

    Also check in and see if the co-op program is available in your area for Life Flight (emergency helicopter) trips. The membership fee is generally higher (above $100 / year) - but again, it's much cheaper than getting the remaining portion of a Life Flight bill. (Ground transport by ambulance generally ranges from $1,200 to $2,100. Helicopter rides are generally $10,000 to $30,000, or more). In some rural areas of states, where the road network is not good, Life Flight can get to an injured person far faster than a ground ambulance ever could, and a Life Flight ride becomes normal emergency transport there.

    Our area has both co-op and Life Flight insurance available, so we have both. I can speak for the ambulance / fire co-op here: totally worth it. Just had a family member take two ambulance rides (#1 life threatening, #2 was bad weather transport to specialty hospital because helicopter could not fly) - and both bills look to be $0.00 as they begin trickling in. I think our good health insurance paid something, but even if they hadn't...co-op insurance is worth it.

    Back to topic, I you for figuring out how to work Siri and setting this up for you (and letting others know how to do it). Just might be an idea for some friends I know...

    Good creativity!
    Mystery

  4. #4
    Several years ago I called 911 just to test my phone's GPS system. When they answered, I told them it was a test. They were happy to help. (BTW they knew my location within several yards immediately.)
    Chas
    TiLite TR3
    Dual-Axle TR3 with RioMobility DragonFly
    I am a person with mild/moderate hexaparesis (impaired movement in 4 limbs, head, & torso) caused by RRMS w/TM C7&T7 incomplete.

    "I know you think you understand what you thought I said, but what I don't think you realize is that what you heard is not what I meant."
    <
    UNKNOWN AUTHOR>

  5. #5
    Senior Member Kulea's Avatar
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    BTW-if you want to make the iPhone more portable, you can get a battery case for it. Since it is connected to power when the case is on the phone, the voice activated feature would work.
    C-6/7 incomplete

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Kulea View Post
    BTW-if you want to make the iPhone more portable, you can get a battery case for it. Since it is connected to power when the case is on the phone, the voice activated feature would work.
    Good tip! Thanks!

  7. #7
    Mystery, thanks for the info. I will definitely follow these suggestions. I don't want to wait until there is an actual emergency and find out it doesn't work!

  8. #8
    I called the chief dispatcher at our local 911 office to set up a test. I tried out the iPhone using Siri and it worked great! The 911 office now has my information on file, so if I ever do make a real emergency call, they will know who I am and where I live.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Brian S View Post
    I called the chief dispatcher at our local 911 office to set up a test. I tried out the iPhone using Siri and it worked great! The 911 office now has my information on file, so if I ever do make a real emergency call, they will know who I am and where I live.
    Great!
    Chas
    TiLite TR3
    Dual-Axle TR3 with RioMobility DragonFly
    I am a person with mild/moderate hexaparesis (impaired movement in 4 limbs, head, & torso) caused by RRMS w/TM C7&T7 incomplete.

    "I know you think you understand what you thought I said, but what I don't think you realize is that what you heard is not what I meant."
    <
    UNKNOWN AUTHOR>

  10. #10
    Brian, that's SUPER!! I am thrilled for you.

    And that's really awesome that you were able to get permission to set up a test. That is great your community worked with you, and I am so glad that everything is on file now!

    Mystery

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