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Frequently Asked Questions

Why is 911anywhere not free?

911anywhere accesses two databases to obtain geographic and emergency dispatch data. 911anywhere must subscribe to these databases for a fee. 911anywhere also does not display or earn revenue from ads.

Do I need to enter a contact’s full address?

A full address should always be entered. Accurate data may not be provided if a full address is not used. Simply entering a city name typically selects a point in the geographic center of that city. That point could fall, for example, within a college campus with its own police department. In this case, an emergency dispatch agency other than the primary one for the user’s specific address could be displayed and then saved.

The screen in the app from which an emergency call is made displays the address entered at time of creation. Minimizing the call window during the call will display the contact detail screen again with the address. This will assist the user in remembering and communicating to the distant emergency operator during what will likely be a traumatic experience. 

Can 911anywhere locate a distant victim if the user does not know their current location? 

No. The 911anywhere app has no ability to locate a distant victim or address. The user must communicate the victim’s specific location to the emergency dispatch operator. The user must also confirm the victim is at the saved location when placing an emergency call.

Instead of purchasing 911anywhere, could I just look up the local police departments or 911 Centers where each of my contacts live? 

It is certainly possible to look up emergency dispatch agency data for U.S. locations and save their phone numbers. But 911anywhere uses the authoritative database with information provided by 911 Centers and used by most 911 Centers to transfer calls. Some jurisdictions have primary and secondary emergency dispatch agencies. Some have consolidated into larger entities representing larger geographic areas. 911anywhere will display the authoritative information and also instantly check whether that information has changed, each time the app is opened. 911anywhere has the added benefit of displaying the victim’s full saved address as the call is being made.

How do I know the call will actually work in an emergency?

An emergency call is made from the user’s phone, not from the app itself. Once the “call emergency dispatch” button is tapped, the user is shown the full, unobscured phone number in a prompt to confirm the call, which is a feature of the phone’s normal calling capability. 

How do I know this is the right phone number? 

911anywhere accesses the authoritative database for reporting emergencies to a distant 911 Center or emergency dispatch agency. The information on over 5,000 agencies has been reported by those agencies themselves, including their 24x7 number for transferring emergency calls, coverage area coordinates and primary or secondary status. If multiple agencies have overlapping coverage for a location, 911anywhere is designed to display the primary agency.

Why is the phone number partially obscured?

Access to the database is restricted to paying subscribers. As such, measures have been taken to protect against misuse of the data, including “data scraping.” When the “call emergency dispatch” button is tapped, the full phone number is displayed in the final prompt before the call is made. 

How do I know if I should use 911anywhere or dial 911 in an emergency?

When in doubt, dial 911. If you believe the emergency is in your same local 911 Center coverage area, dial 911. For all other situations, it is likely that calling for a saved contact from 911anywhere will get help to the victim sooner, but it is not possible to claim this for all U.S. locations. Even for close contacts in your local area, it is still recommended to create contacts in the app for them in case you yourself are out of the area when one is experiencing an emergency. When in doubt, dial 911.

Could I just call 911 and report the distant emergency?

Outside of the 911anywhere app, dialing 911 is the most effective way to send help to a distant emergency. It is also the recommended method if the 911anywhere app does not appear to be working in an emergency. However, this is exactly what 911anywhere seeks to improve upon. Dialing 911 connects the caller to their local 911 operator. For a distant emergency, the caller must explain the emergency and provide the operator the distant address. The operator must then open the proper geolocation tool, enter the distant address and determine the appropriate agency to transfer the call to. The same information would then need to be communicated to the distant dispatcher. 911anywhere allows a user to avoid the time spent with their local dispatcher and go right to the dispatcher who is closest to the actual emergency. This is precious time in a medical emergency.

Can 911anywhere see my contacts? 

No. Contacts are saved locally within the app on the phone. They are not saved or backed up to any external infrastructure. For more information, please refer to the 911anywhere Privacy Statement.

Can 911anywhere sync with my phone’s contacts and import their addresses? 

No. This is intentional. 911anywhere is only as accurate as the user can communicate a victim’s location. The app is designed so that the user must manually enter contacts’ addresses on an individual basis. This is to ensure those addresses are current. Users must manually update any contact’s address if they move and it is recommended to confirm all contacts’ addresses are still accurate on at least an annual basis.

What if a 911 Center or other emergency dispatch agency changes its status, consolidates or the data otherwise changes? 

The value of the 911anywhere app is that each time it opens, all contacts’ addresses are instantly re-validated with the databases to ensure relevant data has not changed. If relevant data has changed, it is updated in that contact’s details automatically and the user is notified of the change in a popup notification. This also mitigates the risk of a user saving a contact incorrectly.

The automatic validation and update feature can actually be observed with the below steps.

1. Enter a location and tap "Find Emergency Dispatch."

2. Clear the search bar and enter a different location but do not tap "Find Emergency Dispatch."

3. Now that a location is displayed with the wrong emergency dispatch data, tap "Create Contact," enter a name and save. The wrong data will simulate old data.

4. Open the app the next day and a popup message will appear saying this contact's data was automatically updated. Verify the correct data is displayed in the contact's details.

What if a database 911anywhere accesses suffers an outage?

It is extremely unlikely either database will be inaccessible, since both are maintained to be available for 911 Centers to access in an emergency. However, in the unlikely event, 911anywhere will not be able to search for emergency dispatch data for a new address entered in the search field. It also will not be able to validate whether contacts’ designated emergency dispatch data has changed. However, emergency calls for saved contacts can still be made. Contacts’ data is saved local to the phone and will be unaffected. Emergency calls are not dependent on any external connections; only phone reception. 

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