First responders can automatically obtain important medical info from your Android phone when you call 911

Emergency button on Android 13 on a phone.
(Image credit: Namerah Saud Fatmi / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • RapidSOS, a database that works with over 16,000 first responder agencies, has partnered with Google. 
  • Paired with Google's existing Android Emergency Location Service (ELS) feature, medical data can be automatically shared with first responders during 911 calls thanks to RapidSOS. 
  • RapidSOS integration with Android ELS will work with any smartphone that has the Personal Safety app. 

The Personal Safety app on Android has added medical ID support for RapidSOS, a platform that shares critical medical information with first responders. With the new feature, a person's medical data will be automatically shared with emergency services when a 911 call is placed. The initiative should help first responders respond quicker and more effectively since less information needs to be communicated verbally. 

This functionality is built upon the Android Emergency Location Service (ELS), which shares a person's location with first responders after they call for help. This has worked in Android phones since 2018 through the same RapidSOS for sharing location data with first responders. Though you might not have heard of the platform, it works with over 16,000 first responder agencies and collects data from more than 500 million devices. 

Medical information can be shared through RapidSOS on Android phones with the Personal Safety app, and it works on devices running on Android 12 or newer. Not every Android OEM offers the Personal Safety app, but examples of supported devices include recent Pixel phones and the Nothing Phone (1)

The RapidSOS feature in Personal Safety.

(Image credit: Brady Snyder / Android Central)

The feature can be found in the Personal Safety app under the name Share during emergency call. It's off by default, and is also region-dependent. "When you call or text an emergency number, your device can automatically send your emergency information to emergency response partners," an explainer reads.

"This is when your smartphone becomes smart," said Tenea Reddick, the emergency command center director of the Baltimore City Fire Department, in the press release. "This information is available to use before the dispatch, and before the responders arrive. It saves so much time because we already know what we’re responding to and what we need."

To start sharing medical ID, set up the Personal Safety app on your smartphone. Then, tap the Your info tab and select the Emergency info access button. After that, simply tap the toggle next to Share during emergency call. You also might want to check Settings > Safety & emergency > Medical information to make sure your data is filled out and up to date.

Though the tool was just recently announced by RapidSOS in a press release, it rolled out earlier this year, according to The Verge

Brady Snyder

Brady is a tech journalist covering news at Android Central. He has spent the last two years reporting and commenting on all things related to consumer technology for various publications. Brady graduated from St. John's University in 2023 with a bachelor's degree in journalism. When he isn't experimenting with the latest tech, you can find Brady running or watching sports.