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Juliet McGuire

Ladies, this could save your life so take note.

“911, what’s your emergency?” How many times have you heard this phrase in an American movie or documentary? It is always followed by a frantic cry for help and while the person in need of assistance is talking, so the emergency personal has dispatched all the emergency services required. It’s that easy!

Things work a little differently in South Africa. I don’t know about you, but I haven’t heard great stories about our relative emergency call centres such as 10 111. There is often a delay in communication and this can be life threatening.

I have done a number of articles on the safety of women driving alone. I am one such woman who spends a lot of time driving on my own, often late at night or early in the morning before the sun has even risen. It is a sad fact that in this country, we as women, are the most vulnerable on the road.

I bought a taser recently because I needed something to help me feel safe. I am very aware that a small handbag taser is not exactly the best ‘weapon’ of choice, but what choice do I actually have? And if it is going to earn me a few moments to make an escape, well that might be all I need. Those few seconds can, in fact, save my life. And this is where an app I think every single woman should have on her phone comes in.

911RESPONSE24

Marlize Holtzhausen felt completely helpless when her six month pregnant sister was kidnapped from her smallholding outside Bloemfontein. She was driven to a nearby informal settlement and raped. She and the baby survived, but as I know every women can relate to in this country, the scars run very deep.

Marlize realised that time is key in any emergency and wanted to ensure that no other family had to endure such a trauma. She developed an app called 911Response24 which eliminates those life-costing seconds. An app that turns your cellphone into a live mobile panic button, an app that can summon help to your exact location without relying on explaining to someone where you are or waiting for the next available operator.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

If you find yourself in a situation, all you do is press the panic button on your phone (you would have obviously downloaded the app already). A signal is immediately sent to emergency services as well as your list of friends and family, who are all notified as to your exact location. The emergency services located closest to you are dispatched. Whether it is a medical emergency or if you are in need of an armed response vehicle, the tech team behind the app take care of it all. Especially if you are unable to talk.

From the time an alert is triggered, everyone is kept updated. You, your friends and family and emergency personnel can all see when help has been dispatched in real time.

911 WHEN DRIVING

What I love about this app is that, although it can be used anywhere, it is when driving alone that would be most important to me. Especially driving along the notorious N2 highway. I like the idea of having emergency personal just one tap of a button away. And also that they will know exactly how to get to me.

Even if you just feel uneasy, this is an app that surely sets your mind at ease. It’s the reason I bought that taser, just to keep my mind at ease. The app costs R59.99 per month. Which, when you think how much a life is actually worth, is nothing in comparison.

If you have more questions about the app or if you have any concerns about it, please get in touch with me. Even if you just want a few tips on how to keep yourself and your loved ones safe on the roads, I might not be just one tap away, but you can certainly reach me on Facebook,Twitter, and Instagram.

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