Can Alexa call 911? How to set up Alexa for emergencies

Alexa can not directly call 911 on its own, but it can also use external hardware and third-party skills to help you during a crisis. Equipment such as Amazon’s own Echo Connect can connect your Alexa device directly to a landline, making a call for 911 possible. Alternatively, some Alexa skills enable you to send alerts through various applications, including Ask My Buddy and My SOS Family. However, it is critical to note that these skills do not directly contact 911.

Call 911 with Echo Connect

Amazon Echo Connect

Amazon’s Echo Connect is a seemingly failed product in the Alexa devices family that the company no longer sells. However, if you have one tucked away or you fancy purchasing one from a secondhand website such as eBay, it could be the perfect solution. Echo Connect was initially introduced as a small box that could be connected to your landline, allowing you to use your Echo devices as a speakerphone.

To set up Echo Connect, follow these steps:

  1. Plug your Echo Connect into an outlet near your modem or phone jack.
  2. If you need to plug in a standard telephone handset alongside Echo Connect, use a splitter adapter on the telephone jack to create two connections.
  3. Next, on your smartphone, open the Alexa app.
  4. Choose the Settings menu.
  5. Select Add Device, followed by Amazon Echo.
  6. Select Echo Connect to finalize the setup.

Once the above steps are completed, you can request that your Echo devices call any landline or mobile telephone number, including emergency service numbers such as 911. To place a call with 911 when Echo Connect is in place, say, “Alexa, call 911.”

Obtain assistance with Alexa Skills

Amazon Echo Input Portable buttons

You can use alternative methods to obtain help, but they don’t call emergency services directly. Alexa skills such as Ask My Buddy and My SOS Family allow you to effortlessly contact other individuals in the event of an emergency. In this example, we will show you how to set up the Ask My Buddy skill for use with your Alexa device. Please remember this will not contact 911 or emergency services directly.

To set up your Ask My Buddy account:

  1. Visit askmybuddy.net to begin setup.
  2. If you do not already have an account, click the Register button.
  3. Fill out the requested information to register, including your first name, last name, email address, cell phone number, and password.
  4. Once registered, you will be prompted for your login information. Enter your email address and password to sign in.
  5. At the top of the page, select the Contacts tab.
  6. Enter any new contacts who you want to receive an alert. Press the Save Changes button when you are finished.
  7. You can now log out of the service or close your web browser.

Now that your Ask My Buddy account is created, we can add the skill to your Alexa device for easy access. Please note that the free version of Ask My Buddy will only alert up to five contacts in English, and you are limited to sending out 10 alert messages per month.

Ask My Buddy

To set up Ask My Buddy with Alexa:

  1. Ask Alexa the following: “Alexa, open the Ask My Buddy skill.”
  2. Alexa will say she has sent a notification to your Alexa app, so proceed to your smartphone and open the Alexa app.
  3. On the Home tab, there should be a card that says Action Needed — Ask My Buddy. Tap it to continue.
  4. You will be prompted to sign in to your Ask My Buddy account.
  5. Once you have linked your account, Alexa will note that the link was successful. Click the Done button in the upper left of the screen.

Now that Ask My Buddy has been set up, you can ask Alexa for help by saying something like, “Alexa, ask my buddy to send help,” or, “Alexa, ask my buddy to contact Michael.” The service will now send a text message and call the contact on your list to alert them of trouble. It’s best to discuss a system such as this with a few individuals in advance so your contacts know what to do when they receive the alert.

Ask Alexa to call non-emergency numbers

As another option, Alexa can call non-emergency numbers by merely asking. Again, Alexa will not be able to call 911 or emergency services, but it can reach out to one of your contacts and connect you via voice. If your Alexa app has access to your contacts, you can say something like, “Alexa, call James.” You can also ask Alexa to call a full number, such as, “Alexa, call 201-867-5309.”

Enable Alexa Guard

Guard is an Echo ability you can enable through Alexa to add more security to your home and get alerts for emergencies that happen when you are away. It’s very easy to set up. Just open the Alexa app, go to Settings, and select Guard to get started. Alexa will ask you a few questions about what Guard features you want to enable, like listening for breaking glass.

Alexa will then send you phone alerts when your Echo hears something that sounds like trouble. This pairs very well with an Alexa-compatible security system, because you can immediately check cams, sound sirens, contact the authorities, and do anything else that will help.

If you don’t have a compatible security system, you can give Alexa an alarm skill and sound an emergency alarm to scare anyone away who may be breaking in. Alexa has a lot of different alarm skill options, from an air horn to police sirens and tornado sirens.

To learn more about Guard, visit our full guide on the capability.

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