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June 19, 2014 12:09 pm

In Wake of Kidnappings, New Israeli Emergency Alert App Released

avatar by Anav Silverman / Tazpit News Agency

Gush Etzion Junction, where the kidnapping of Israeli teens took place. Photo: Hillel Meir / Tazpit News Agency.

JERUSALEM –  Following the tragic kidnapping of three Israeli teens, United Hatzalah, Israel’s fastest emergency medical response service, has created “SOS,” an emergency alert app that allows users to immediately dispatch a distress call and their precise location to United Hatzalah and the Israeli police.

United Hatzalah’s dispatch centers already utilize the Irving and Cherna Moskowitz LifeCompass technology commissioned from the Israeli company NowForce to map out and respond to emergencies. This GPS-oriented technology optimizes the response time by ensuring that medic volunteers closest to the emergency receive the mobile-alerts and are then dispatched. In the wake of the kidnappings, United Hatzalah and NowForce have accelerated the launch of a public version called “SOS” to give victims of an emergency a quick and easy way to call for help.

With a swipe on the smartphone, a call goes out simultaneously to the police and to United Hatzalah’s 24/7 dispatch center. United Hatzalah receives the phone’s GPS coordinates and alerts the police of the exact location. In addition to tracking the user via the smartphone, the system contacts any family or friends that are pre-programmed into the system during registration. United Hatzalah dispatchers continue to monitor the emergency until it is cleared.

In the last year alone, the Israeli police have thwarted dozens of attempted kidnappings. The recent incident has highlighted the need for additional tools and technologies to avert such tragedies.

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“Our main mission at United Hatzalah is to get to medical emergencies within two minutes all over the country,” says United Hatzalah’s president and founder Eli Beer. “With the recent kidnappings, we feel obliged to share our knowledge and technology to provide that extra layer of protection for the people of Israel.”

The app is designed to function as an emergency safety and security alert system and is not meant to replace direct verbal communication with police, fire, or medical emergency dispatchers.

The app is available on sos.nowforce.com in English and Hebrew.

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