The iPhone 14’s Emergency SOS via Satellite feature helped rescue a family that was trapped by the wildfires that are sweeping across Maui.
Twitter user Michael Miraflor said that five people related to his brother’s girlfriend were caught in a vehicle, surrounded by wildfires. There was no cell service available at their location, so they used Emergency SOS to communicate with first responders.
My brother’s girlfriend’s cousin and his family were caught in their vehicle in Maui while the wildfires suddenly erupted around them.
No cell service, so Apple Emergency SOS was the only way they could get in contact with first responders. Literally saved their lives. pic.twitter.com/PpxNwTGOAf
— Michael J. Miraflor (@michaelmiraflor) August 10, 2023
Miraflor shared a screenshot of the entire Emergency SOS text chain via X, providing a look at how the local fire department and dispatchers sprung into action. The family had been at the Outlets of Maui, a shopping mall in Lahaina where the fires are raging.
Via the Emergency SOS via Satellite, the family relayed their location to the dispatcher, telling them that they are surrounded by fire with no visibility and no way out due to blocked roads. Fire crews were able to reach the family within 30 minutes and were able to safely evacuate them.
The wildfires in Hawaii have resulted in the deaths of 55 people so far. Very dry conditions stemming from a drought combined with powerful trade winds being squeezed across Hawaii have driven the fires. The town of Lahaina, where the family was trapped, is now largely destroyed.
Every model in the iPhone 14 lineup — iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 14 Pro, and iPhone 14 Pro Max — can connect directly to a satellite. Emergency SOS via satellite builds on existing features, including Emergency SOS, Medical ID, emergency contacts, and Find My Location sharing, offering the ability to connect to a satellite for a more 360-degree approach to sharing critical information with emergency services, family, and friends.
The service allows Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) — or emergency services call centers — to connect to users in emergency situations and requires no additional software or protocols to enable communications. Users will be connected directly to emergency services that are equipped to receive text messages or to relay centers with Apple-trained emergency specialists who are ready to contact PSAPs that cannot receive text messages on the user’s behalf.