Do you understand the emergency call features available on your cell phone? Now, before you answer that, think long and hard.  If you were in trouble and unable to dial for help, would another person (let’s say a child) be able to pick up your phone and easily/quickly call for help? The featured tech (Samsung S9) in this post was provided by #Verizon

Understanding The Emergency Features of Your Phone | Naturally Stellar

I mean, these things were added to help save your life and keep you safe.  So do you really understand all of the features available to you?  If not, let’s get into them. I want to be sure you have all the tools you need, by the end of this post, to safeguard yourself and your loved ones in cases of emergency. 

Understanding Your Emergency Cell Phone Features

Understanding The Emergency Features of Your Phone | Naturally Stellar

Emergency Contacts

The first things that you should set up on your cell phone immediately after activating it, are emergency contacts. These are quick dial phone numbers & contacts that you can set up and access quickly, in case of emergency (ICE). They show up on your lock screen so you can access them without going through a security measure. Locations for the set up of ICE varies by phone.  So, here’s a short video by CNet to help you quickly set these up on your Android or iPhone. 

If you don’t see the options in your phone you can download an emergency ICE app from Google play store. 

Emergency Mode

Most current model cell phones are equipped with safety measures to help keep you and your phone data safe.  One of those safety measures is Emergency Mode. It’s there to help extend the standby time of your device and conserve your battery. This may be needed if you are ever in a situation where you’re lost or stranded. When activated, your brightness will dim and some of your functions will become inactive to extend the life of your battery. 

You can still make an emergency call to a designated contact but most functionality will be turned off to help you hold out as long as possible.

Samsung users: Emergency Mode is in your Advanced Features under settings.


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SOS places a distress call or text to your emergency contacts which helps them to know where you are and how to track you. It stays active up to an hour. This feature works on cell phones and other devices like Apple Watches and Samsung Gear. 

Here’s a really good tutorial on How to trigger Emergency SOS on your iPhone (and shut it off).  You also want to be careful to not set off the feature accidentally, as it can be pretty embarrassing. 

Samsung S series late-model phones sends a text to your emergency contact with the following string of info:

map screenshot
text message: “SOS!”
URL with map coordinates
text message: “I need help”
URL with map coordinates
five-second audio clip
map screenshot
text message: “SOS!”
URL with map coordinates
text message: “I need help”
URL with map coordinates
front camera photograph
five-second audio clip
rear camera photograph
front camera photograph
rear camera photograph
text message: “I need help”

iPhone users can turn on Auto Call SOS to automatically notify emergency responders, when SOS is activated.

Samsung users: SOS is in your Advanced Features under settings. To use, press power key 3 times fast.

iPhone users: In the Settings app, tap on Emergency SOS.  To use, hold down power key + volume down buttons simultaneously.  The counter will begin. Or, tap the power button 5 times in a row to auto call. 

Emergency Alerts

WEA or Wireless Emergency Alerts are there to help keep the public safe. In cases of national emergencies, you may receive text messages and/or audible alerts.  Other things like National Weather Service alerts and Amber Alerts will also get pushed to your phone. You can adjust things on your phone like the alert tone, vibration, reminders and audible alert messages that can be read aloud with text-to-speech.

Samsung users: WEA settings are in your Connections.

Understanding The Emergency Features of Your iPhone and Android | Naturally Stellar

Safety Functions Available on Samsung S series phones and iPhones

  • SOS
  • Emergency Mode
  • Emergency Contacts
  • Wireless Emergency Alerts

Ok, now that you know all about your emergency stuff on your phone, are you prepared for someone else to access these things if you’re incapacitated? 

As a mom, I’m always concerned about all the crazy scenarios me or my family could get into and there’s nothing wrong with playing it safe.  So, if you were unable to access your emergency options (you’re passed out, heart attack, injured etc.) and needed your child to do it, would they be able to?

If you’re unsure, here are:

4 things to do to help you prepare for an emergency. 

  • Post emergency numbers in prominent places around your home
  • Have your kids memorize phone numbers and your address. Relying totally on your phone isn’t safe.
  • Show your kids how to access your phone’s emergency features from your lock screen or how to unlock the phone if necessary
  • Run through emergency call drills with your kid’s

I hope that none of us is ever in a situation to have to use these tips but it’s always wise to be prepared. Have you had any life or death situations where you needed a cell phone? Let us know in the comments and join in the convo’s on Instagram. 


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Founder, Editor-in-Chief of Women's Lifestyle Blog, Naturally Stellar | Beauty Writer and Content Creator | I left corporate life 7+ years ago, to pursue my goal of becoming a writer. Boom!! I did that! Now I'm an accomplished writer and boss babe running a successful blog business. You should hire me! #RockStarMoms

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