SOS – how to summon help using your smartphone

On Sunday afternoon, I was out walking my dog when I was threatened by a man on a path about 15 minutes’ walk from my house.

I’ll spare you the details but the five or so minutes until I was able to get away from him felt like a great deal longer and it is not an exaggeration to say that I feared for my life.

It was the second most terrifying experience of my life – the first being when my husband was rushed back into theatre in the middle of the night following his open heart surgery.

It will be some time before I can easily walk those paths again.

However, one good thing that has come out of this is that I discovered, courtesy of Jennie and my son’s friend, that there is likely a feature on your smartphone that enables you to summon help. I was frantically fumbling with my phone trying to get it to call anyone. Heaven knows, it makes enough pocket calls, but the one time I actually needed it to…..

On an iPhone, you hold down the lock button and the volume button until the SOS screen appears. It’s slightly more complicated as you have to then use the slider which may be difficult if it’s in your pocket. But if you can work the sliding button thingy, it will automatically call the Police and text two of your contacts with your location.

On an Android phone, you search SOS and you can set it up from there. This article explains a bit more about what it can do.

I have been surprised at the number of people who didn’t know about this and who now have set it up as a result of my posts on social media.

Having said that, calling the Police may not be as effective as you need it to be. Anyone want to have a wild guess as to when they are coming to take my statement about this incident? I get that I was safe by the time I was able to speak to them, but the next person this individual approaches may not have that luxury.



* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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  • Richard Underhill 2nd Jul '19 - 9:21am

    A gadget advertised on LDV might be quicker.
    It comes in a choice of 3 colours.

  • Suzanne Fletcher 2nd Jul '19 - 11:04am

    many thanks for that. If I were to practice would it set off an alarm if I didn’t do the slider bit ?

  • Shaun Young 2nd Jul '19 - 1:08pm

    On an iphone8 or later, you can go into; Settings > SOS > Call with side button – move the slide button to GREEN. This enables you to do the same thing by rapidly pressing the ‘lock’ button 5 times.

  • Richard Underhill 2nd Jul '19 - 1:09pm

    2nd Jul ’19 – 9:21am
    This is probably an alarm making a noise so painful that a potential attacker runs away.
    Quicker than a mobile ‘phone?
    Young ones of many species do the same if they want feeding etcetera.

  • Christine Headley 2nd Jul '19 - 3:20pm

    In the iPhone area where you can turn on the Emergency SOS, you can also put in medical info and contacts which are accessible when your phone is otherwise password protected. If the worst comes to the worst, ‘they’ can find out you are willing to be an organ donor.

  • A terrible thing to happen to you Caron – I am dismayed by the response of the police. Many decades ago a friend of mine was threatened by a man while she was walking in the country. The police took such things seriously then and he was caught and gaoled. She has never been able to walk on her own in the country again though.

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