Did you know that you can use your Amazon Alexa device in an emergency? Plus, I’ve got the details on lesser-known security software from Amazon that could protect your home from intruders and help you reach an emergency hotline without picking up the phone.
Set up your Alexa for an emergency
If you have an Alexa device, you know how convenient it can make life despite the obvious privacy concerns that come with an open mic inside your home. You can ask simple questions or find quick information, all without having to use your hands. Now I’m here to help you use handy technology to your advantage and set up your Alexa so you can use the device in an emergency.
Can you call 911 with Alexa?
Alexa devices do not allow you to call 911 directly. However, I found some solutions to quickly ask for help using your Alexa.
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Set up an emergency contact
The first step you should take for your own security is to set up a Emergency contact on your Alexa. It’s very easy to do, and if you have an emergency contact set up, your Alexa device will communicate with that person via message and call so they can help you directly or call emergency services.
- Open your Alexa app on your smartphone
- Play Communicate
- In the upper right corner, tap the icon that looks like a person or two silhouettes – those are your contacts
- Then tap on the three vertical dots for more menu settings
- Play Emergency contact
- Play Select a contact
- Search or scroll until you have found the contact you want to add as your emergency contact
- Select the phone number under your contact that you would like to use; Ideally, choose a cell phone number and not a landline, so they can receive a call and a message.
- Play next and touch Done
- If you need to reach your emergency contact, use one of the following phrases: “Alexa…”:- “Call for help.”- “Call my emergency contact.”- “Call my contact for help “.- “Call my help contact.”- “Help”.- “I need help”.
Pro Tip: Make sure you don’t have anyone in your contacts with the name or word “help” as your Alexa may try to contact them instead.
Alexa Together is a subscription service to help you care for your loved ones remotely. If the person you want to support has an Alexa Echo device and an Amazon account, you can set up an Alexa Together subscription for them.
The best feature that Alexa Together offers is the 24/7 urgent response. They have agents on call at all times who can help get assistance for your loved one. While this subscription costs a monthly fee, it’s well worth it for the peace of mind of your family members who don’t live as close.
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Other features that Alexa Together offers:
- Custom Alerts Find out when your loved one interacts with Alexa for the first time, and set alerts for them if they haven’t interacted with Alexa on a particular day, so you know what they’re up to.
- Remote assistance Set up alerts on their device, so they can get reminders, link music services to their account, manage shopping lists and more
- Create a Circle of Support While you can only support one user with Alexa Together, you can add up to 10 additional family or friends in a circle of support so you know there is always someone to help you
Alexa Together offers a 30 day free trial and it costs $19.99 per month (plus tax) after your free trial ends.
Amazon also offers something called Alexa Guard, which allows you to call for emergency help, receive alerts about your home when you’re not there, and offer additional security by deterring unwanted visitors.
There is a free version of Alexa Guard, but it doesn’t offer the same number of security features as the plus version it does. if you have Alexa Plus GuardYou have 24/7 access to Alexa’s emergency hotline, which will help you contact emergency services if necessary.
Other features include:
- Smart Alerts Your Alexa can detect certain sounds and alert you if they are potentially dangerous. You can be alerted to the sounds of smoke or carbon monoxide detectors going off, or footsteps, glass breaking, or a door closing.
- Deter unwanted visitors You can set your Alexa to turn lights on and off when you’re not home to make it look like someone’s there, play the sound of a dog barking when you’re not home if motion is detected, or ring a bell. siren when motion is detected indoors
Alexa Guard offers a free trial, and if you sign up for the monthly plan, it costs $4.99 per month or $49 per year.
How do I set up Alexa Guard and Alexa Guard Plus?
To set this up, do the following:
1) Open the Amazon Alexa app. (make sure you have the latest version of the app and that your Echo software is up to date)
2) Click the “More” button in the bottom right corner
3) Click Settings > Scroll down to Guard and click “Set Guard”
4) You can “Add”:
- Smart devices including smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors
- Smart alerts when the sound of breaking glass is heard.
- Smart lighting (when you set it to “Away” mode, Alexa will turn on the connected lights
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5) You can get Alexa Guard Plus premium by clicking the gear icon on the top right corner. You will notice the features you can activate, including “Dog Barking Sounds”, “Activity Sounds with Siren”, “Emergency Helpline”.
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