What if they use their phone and just call me?

We agree, the cheapest and easiest thing to do in an emergency is use your own phone to call for help. All phone manufacturers and mobile network providers allow you to call 911/112/999/0000 even when the screen is locked or you have no credit (PAYG SIMS). My SOS Family recommends that in a life-threatening situation that you first call 911/112/999/0000 emergency services. In the UK you can also call 111 for medical advice.

When we first started and we were looking for early adopters of the My SOS Family system, we asked friends, family and work colleagues to give it to their elderly parents (free of course).

One of these was my ex-boss Clive. After some time of me explaining the benefits and how it works, he simply said to me, "I think it’s a great idea, but my Mother is independent, has a phone and can call someone should she need help." He said that he didn’t think it was suitable for her, or that she wouldn't use it.

About 6 months later, Clive called me and asked how to set up My SOS Family for his mother. I was surprised and asked what had happened.

He told me that his mother, who lives 260 miles away in Liverpool, had recently had a fall while she was out and about. She phoned her other son, who lives nearby, and the call went straight to voicemail. She then tried calling her daughter - again it went to voicemail. She then tried her grandson but couldn't get through. After each call she became more and more distressed, yet she was too embarrassed to call the emergency services (999). Somehow, after a few hours of struggling, she made her way home. It took a few weeks to recover, and as you can imagine it knocked her confidence about going out alone.

Clive told me why he changed his mind and what would have happened if he had given her My SOS Family. She would have only needed to keep one of the buttons on her phone pressed, this would have triggered the SOS, which meant there was no need for her to call anyone. The system would handle it for her.

Apart from Clive’s brother, sister-in-law and nephew being emergency contacts, Clive, who lives in Tunbridge Wells, Clive's wife, Clive's grown-up daughter and son, would also have been added. Each of these contacts would receive emails, phone calls to mobiles, calls to home phones and also work extensions, as well as being sent text messages.

He knew how the system worked and knows the alerts are repeated, and felt sure one of their family would have picked up the alert, called his mother back, reassured her, and either called her a taxi or given her the confidence to call for an ambulance herself.

We hope that you or your family never receive a message like that. But it you do, at least you know with modern technology, it doesn’t matter how far you live from the person, you can still help them. Who wouldn’t be proud to know that their family and friends across the globe are part of their own SOS Family network?