Apple’s Siri – When you have an emergency

In this article, I demonstrate how you can use your iPhone and the built-in app Siri to connect you with emergency services when you need help.  For an overview, view the video below.

Siri can save your life

Using your iPhone to respond to an emergency situation is an important life skill.  You might need to call the police, locate medical assistance, or photograph a crime.

As an emergency situation develops, your fingers may not cooperate.  Your brain may freeze.  Fear, age, or even broken bones may obstruct your ability to call for help.

However, If you can hold your iPhone and press the HOME BUTTON for two seconds, you can launch the Siri app – and then use one of the emergency commands below.

Siri is Apple’s natural language voice assistant app that is built into new iPhones and iPads.

I encourage you to learn, master, and continuously practice Siri commands.  If your children can handle the responsibility, include them in this activity.  If your parents own an iPhone, get them involved, too.

To learn how to use Siri, please view our Workflow and Style video – Siri, Apple’s amazing voice assistant

The Siri commands are demonstrated in italics.

Launch Siri

To use Siri on your iPad/iPhone, you must first launch it.  There are two methods:

Method 1.  Simply hold the HOME button at the bottom of the device for two seconds.  Siri will respond that it is now listening for your command.

Method 2.  If your device is connected to a power source, it is always listening WITHOUT pressing the HOME button – and will respond to HEY SIRI.  This feature must be turned ON.  To use this feature on your Apple device, tap SETTINGS>GENERAL>SIRI – then turn ON the option ALLOW “HEY SIRI” and follow instructions.

Call Emergency Services 911

NOTE: When testing this command, please DO NOT complete the call the the Police.  If they answer the phone, they may think you are in a real emergency.

DIAL is the simplest Siri phone command.  The DIAL command can be used to call any phone number, including 911

  • Hey Siri, DIAL 911

The following CALL commands will call Emergency Services, which is 911

  • Hey Siri, CALL 911
  • Hey Siri, CALL the Police

Call your local Police Department

Follow these steps:

  • I will use Allendale Police in this example.
  • Add a contact on your iPhone with the first name Allendale and the last name Police
  • Add the Allendale Police phone number to this contact 201-825-1900.
  • Hey Siri, CALL the Allendale Police

Every child and senior citizen should have emergency contact info in their smart phone.  Yes, even college students.  Add the contact Campus Police with their respective phone number. Then you can say

  • Hey Siri, CALL Campus Police

Call Mom, Call Dad

This commands requires a few extra steps.

  • On your child’s iPhone, enter contact info for both Mom and Dad, using their respective first and last names.
  • Hey Siri, CALL Mom
  • The first time you use this command Siri will ask you for Mom’s contact name that you have already added to your Contact list.
  • To streamline identifying Mom and Dad, you can use the word Mom in place of Mom’s first name and Dad in place of Dad’s first name.

I’m lost, where am I?

Your iPhone knows where you are, even if you don’t.  This command will open your iPhone map app and spot your location.  It’s not perfect, but if you’re lost, it’s close enough.

  • Hey Siri, where am I
  • Hey Siri, what is my location

If you are lost and need directions to your home

  • Hey Siri, I need directions HOME

Maybe you are visiting a friend, Pat Smith – and go for a walk – then get lost

  • Make sure your friend’s contact info is in your iPhone before you go wandering about
  • Hey Siri, I need directions to Pat Smith

Get directions

You can get directions to the address of one of your contacts – or you can get directions to a street address

  • Hey Siri, I need directions to Pat Smith
  • Hey, Siri, I need directions to 1 Main street, Ramsey, NJ
  • Hey Siri, I need directions HOME

Medical attention – nearest hospital

Let’s assume you are in non-familiar location and need to visit a nearby hospital

  • Hey Siri, I need directions to the nearest hospital

This command will determine the location of the nearest hospital and provide driving or walking directions.

  • Hey Siri, I need WALKING directions to the nearest hospital
  • Hey Siri, I need DRIVING directions to the nearest hospital

Call your doctor, friends, and family

Many seniors have an iPhone but often have difficulty locating the app icons or tapping on the correct numbers and letters.

  • Enter contact info for each doctor, friend, and relative
  • Hey Siri, CALL Doctor Smith
  • Hey Siri, CALL Pat Smith

Take a picture

This command will launch the iPhone camera BUT you must press the app’s RECORD button to actually take the picture or record a video.

  • Hey Siri, take a picture
  • Hey Siri, LAUNCH the camera

Launch 3rd party apps

In an earlier Workflow and Style video, I discussed the Whistle GPS Pet Tracker.  The LAUNCH command should be tested to determine which apps it will open.

  • Hey Siri, LAUNCH Whistle

General Siri Commands

When you don’t know how to use Siri, simply ask for help.

  • Hey Siri, HELP!

NOTE: The above command provides help instructions to use Siri.  No emergency phone call is made.

Practice, practice, practice

For best results, speak slowly and crisply.

Siri can be a life saver.  Get everyone in your family involved.  Practice these commands.  Spread the word.  Feel free to share this article with friends, family, and local community groups.

NOTE: Whether you use an Apple iPhone or other device, the ability to communicate to local emergency services is essential.  Please contact your phone company or emergency services agency for instructions.