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How your phone can be a lifeline in a dangerous situation

Posted at 6:49 PM, Aug 24, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-24 21:49:10-04

There are certain things you can do to protect yourself when you feel you’re in danger and dialing 911 isn’t an option.

Your smartphone can be a major lifeline. In the case of Iowa college student Mollie Tibbetts, who was found murdered this week, we know she had her phone in hand but didn’t get a chance to use it. 

If you’re in danger, pressing your iPhone’s power button five times sends an emergency SOS to authorities. Turning on auto call in Apple’s iOS 11 emergency settings allows you to do so.

Ulzi is another app that sends out an alert to contacts, police and other users.

In San Luis Obispo County, you can also text 911 in an emergency.

"We are seeing an increase in 911 texting," said Sgt. Trevor Shalhoob. "It is becoming more of a tool to contact law enforcement."

If you’re unable to access this type of technology, self-defense experts say it’s important to be aware, raise your voice and hit your attacker’s vulnerable spots, such as the eyes, throat and groin.

"I may be able to get away, I may be able to get to help, I may be able to get to another person or my phone if I am able to stay calm assess and then react," explained Lisa Rivera, Defense Operations 360 Krav Maga instructor.

Police say walking with a buddy is also a good system.

During freshman orientation, incoming Cal Poly students learn about the safety options on campus. Cal Poly encourages the use of the 911 texting and their escort van service.