Friday 30 September 2016

'Emergency call from son' inspires new safety app for people in vulnerable situations

Meadhbh McGrath

Published 27/06/2016 | 12:40

BigRedButton seeks to offer peace of mind to users by providing real-time support during a vulnerable situation.
BigRedButton seeks to offer peace of mind to users by providing real-time support during a vulnerable situation.

The creator of a new app that aims to get help to people in a vulnerable situation was inspired after he received an emergency call from his son.

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Paul Price has developed the personal safety app BigRedButton which offers assistance to people who don't want to worry a loved one, but need help.

“If you have ever felt uneasy when out running, going to or from the office, or simply coming home from a night out with friends, then the BigRedButton team can be your best friend in that situation,” said Mr Price, a Dublin native.

“You may not want to wake up family or worry them, which we’ve found in research is especially true for teenagers and college students, but you do want to know that someone is always there ready and waiting to help if you decide you need it.”

Mr Price had the idea for BigRedButton after receiving an emergency call from his son.

“We got a call from our son, who was in trouble, but we were not close enough to get to him quickly. We had to hang up and ring around to find someone who could get to him quicker than we could,” he said.

“When we tried to call back his line was engaged and when we did finally get through, it was obvious that the police were required so, again, we had to hang up so he could call 999.

“For everyone involved, not being in constant communication, was very stressful and I knew that this was a situation that other individuals and families find themselves in,” he added.

If a person is concerned for their safety, they can activate the app on screen and they will be put in touch with a member of the trained team who will instantly see where they are using GPS once the app is activated.

That team member can then coordinate extra support by connecting the caller to one of the people on their personalised list of contacts or, in a serious situation, with emergency services.

They will continue to maintain constant communication until the user decides they are safe and no longer at risk, at which point the user can hang up.

The app is currently only available to download for iPhone, and a 12-month subscription costs €9.99, with calls to the service costing €1.75 per minute, a charge that is billed to a user’s credit card.

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