accesSOS: accessible emergency help
One-line solution summary:
accesSOS provides a free mobile app that connects those who cannot call for help with emergency services (deaf, hard of hearing)
What specific problem are you solving?For any emergency, 911 is the go to phone call for any of us, except for the 37 million Americans that can’t hear, speak out loud for help or communicate in English. It’s hard to believe, but in 2021, 70% of 911 call centers do not accept texts to 911. In many cities, 911 dispatch is still the gatekeeper for requesting crisis intervention services, and under-resourced communities are not aware of alternative options that connect them to crisis first response.
Pitch your solution.
accesSOS makes emergency help accessible by providing a free mobile app that instantly translates text to a 911 phone call with the relevant information, in real time, at scale, in multiple languages. accesSOS is available for anyone to use but is especially useful for deaf, hard of hearing, and those who do not communicate in English.
Currently, accesSOS is designed for three types of emergency services: medical, police, and fire. Our Challenge project aims to add a fourth option: crisis intervention, so we can divert response away from policing. When crisis intervention is requested, our goal is to route the call away from 911 that is scalable, accessible, and better address the needs of those in crisis, 24/7.
Our solution's stage of development:Prototype: A venture or organization building and testing its product, service, or business model
Explain why you selected this stage of development for your solution.
accesSOS’s app is piloting in New Mexico but only offers three types of emergency services: medical, police, and fire. Our beneficiaries can request social services but currently this is not a core feature of the app. We are collecting user research data to redesign our app to incorporate a crisis intervention option at the forefront, which will expand into specific crisis intervention categories such as mental health, suicide, domestic violence, erratic behavior, homelessness.
We are exploring 3 routing options:
- Route 1: If crisis intervention response is requested, we route the information to vetted, accessible, open hotlines or 988
- Route 2: If medical, fire assistance, or law enforcement assistance is needed (crime in progress), we will route to 911
- Route 3: If a non-emergency situation is happening (traffic light malfunctions, nonurgent vehicle issues, noise complaints) we route it to the city’s non emergency line like 311
Where are you based?San Francisco, CA, USA
Gabriella Wong Executive Director, accesSOS