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Impact of technology on emergency services

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New technologies improve communications


Over the years, we’ve seen a huge advancement in technology across the globe, but just what impact has technology specifically had on emergency services?

In the past, the mobile phone was a simple device, purely to be used only for texting and calling. Now however, gadgets serve as nimble handheld cameras, portable TV screens and on-the-go internet browsers — to name just a few of their features.

It’s not just members of the public who have benefitted from smartphones, as the devices have also made the lives of those in the emergency services easier.

TORRO Cases, suppliers of stylish and practical genuine leather phone cases and iPhone X Cases to Cleveland Fire Brigade, explains a few reasons why…

Samsung’s deal with emergency services

The South Korean technology firm Samsung signed a contract with the government in November 2017 to supply 250,000 handsets to establish a new emergency communications network for the country.

Police forces, fire crews and paramedics throughout Britain may soon be provided with a Samsung smartphone as part of their work. It is a three-year deal with the option of a one-year extension and could be worth £210 million, which will see the country’s emergency services being delivered with toughened, water-resistant 4G smartphones.

As a result, police officers can feed live video back to their headquarters; fire crews can download building blueprints ahead of tackling a blaze; paramedics can access patient records; and all emergency service personnel can access the internet while on duty.

A “push to talk” button will be available on each device that grants users the opportunity to communicate instantly without being required to dial a phone number.

Smartphone features in the event of an emergency

What about instances when the public need to get in touch with the emergency services?

Follow the steps below to activate the Emergency SOS feature on iPhone devices with the iOS 11 software updates:

  1. Go to the Settings app on your smartphone and select Emergency SOS.
  2. Enable Auto Call.
  3. Switch on Also Works with 5 Clicks if given the prompt.
  4. Select Set Up Emergency Contacts in Health and state who you want your location sent to.

You’ll be able to contact the emergency services via 112, send out your location to emergency contacts and deactivate your smartphone’s Touch ID feature just by pressing your device’s power button five times when it’s locked once all steps have been followed. For iPhone 8 users, these features can be accessed by holding down the power button and one of the volume buttons at the same time.

Emergency SOS is probably known as the most common safety feature that is built into many modern smartphones that allows you to call for help discreetly, share your location or lock down your device.

Samsung’s own version of emergency SOS can be followed by…

  1. Going to the Settings app on your smartphone and selecting Privacy and Security.
  2. Selecting Send SOS Messages and ensuring it’s toggled to ON.
  3. Switching on both Attach pictures and Attach audio recording.

You only need to press the power button on your smartphone three times to send a text or voice message to emergency contacts once this has been activated, as well as informing them of your precise location and sending them a photo directly from your device’s camera.

The advancement of fingerprint scanning

A revolutionary system using smartphones reduced the time needed to identify someone to a few minutes. It can also be completed on the street, as opposed to taking an individual to a police station.

This method works by officers taking scans of the tips of two fingers, which can be checked against more detailed scans of approximately 12 million records found in national criminal and immigration fingerprint databases.

Ian Williams, West Yorkshire Police chief, has welcomed the scanners, pointing out to WIRED: “Most of the people we deal with from a criminal point of view tend not to carry anything with them that would identify them.”

Clive Poulton helped to manage the creation of the system at the Home Office, which has been in development since early 2017 and was initially trialed by West Yorkshire Police before being rolled out to its officers in the form of 250 scanners.

Mr Poulton states that officers will only use the system when they are unable to identify someone by any other means, though the technology could also be applied to identify an individual who is unconscious, requiring medical treatment, or deceased.


This article is published under the terms of the DB Direct service

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