Can Your Amazon Echo Call 911?
This is a very interesting topic for discussion. As Amazon Echo devices can do a lot of things, but they can’t call 911. There are several reasons for this – all of which will be explained further in the article. But, even if an Echo device can’t call 911 on its own, there is a workaround for this.
You’ll need an additional device called the Echo Connect, that your Echo needs to be compatible with. There are also some Alexa skills that can help with emergency situations, which we’ll also discuss in detail below.
Why Can’t Echo Call 911?
It doesn’t make much sense that Echo devices can’t call 911, especially as they can call other devices and even phone numbers. But, unfortunately, you can’t call 911 or any other emergency service with your Echo, not even if you add them to your contact list.
This is because emergency services require you to have a callback number, a registered home address, and for you to pay a surcharge. The surcharge for 911 is very cheap, around a few dollars a month, but it still needs to be paid.
Even medical experts believe that smart devices like the Echo should have the ability to place 911 and other emergency calls. A grim fact: that over 475,000 Americans die every year from cardiac arrest should be reason enough to implement the feature.
There’s already an app in development that will make calls to 911 as soon as it recognizes agonal breathing. This means that Echo, and other smart speakers, will soon be able to save your life in an emergency situation.
Until then, here’s the workaround which will enable your Echo device to call 911.
There is a way you can call 911 from your Amazon Echo, but you’ll need to meet the following requirements:
- You need to get the Echo Connect device from Amazon.
- You need to have one of the following Echo devices, which are compatible with the Echo connect: Echo Spot, Echo Show, Echo, Echo Plus, or Echo Dot.
- Have a landline or a VoIP (voice over internet protocol) home phone service.
- Have a smartphone with the Alexa app installed (free on iOS and Android devices) or a computer logged into amazon.com.
How to Use Echo Connect to Call 911
Echo Connect is a device that helps transform your landline into a speakerphone that you can control with voice commands. It does that through your compatible Echo device, with the help of Alexa. With this device, you can make and answer calls (including 911), and even check voicemail.
The best part is that you can do all of this hands-free, with Alexa voice commands. In combination with some useful Alexa skills, this device becomes even more powerful, especially in emergency situations.
What’s included with an Echo Connect? You get a regular phone cable to connect the device with your landline, an RJ11 (registered jack) splitter and a micro USB power cable.
Alexa comes into play when you sync your contact list with the Echo Connect using the Alexa app. If you add 911 to your contacts list, you can very easily call that number by saying “Alexa, call 911”. The Echo Connect will act as a mediator, and you’ll basically use your landline to make the call, but it will be much faster and more effective than manually dialing the number.
The Best Emergency Skills for Skills
If the workaround seems too complicated for you, there is another solution. You can use Alexa emergency skills, but not for calling 911 – keep that in mind. Here are some of the best emergency skills currently available:
The free Alexa skill Guardian Circle can be extremely useful. You can add guardians and their phone numbers to your Alexa. This skill also shows your current location (you need to have GPS and Wi-Fi enabled) and the location of your guardians.
To use this skill, simply say “Alexa, tell the Guardian Circle I have an emergency”. Then all your guardians will be notified on their smartphones. They can then call 911, come over to your house, or find another solution to your emergency on the spot.
Ask My Buddy
Ask my Buddy is also a free Alexa skill that can help in emergency situations. You can add as many contacts as you like to your buddy list. Then say “Alexa, ask my buddy to send help”. This will inform your buddies about your situation via email, SMS, or even voice messages if you so choose.
This isn’t a proper 911 replacement, but your buddies can call 911 for you if you’re unable to do so for any reason.
SafeTrek is another great free skill for Alexa. The great thing about it is that you don’t need to alert your contacts to use it. Certified SafeTrek agents will come to your aid 24/7. Just say “Alexa, tell SafeTrek to send help”.
Call for Help
As of now (November 2019), you can’t use any of the Echo devices to call 911. With the help of Echo Connect, you can make that possible, as this device connects your Echo to your landline or a VoIP service.
If available, we recommend the landline option. In the future, Amazon should definitely consider implementing 911 calls on all regular Echo devices. It would prove incredibly helpful. And there’s nothing more helpful than saving lives.
If you would like to add something to the discussion, feel free to do so in the comments section below.