Can Alexa Call 911? How Alexa Can Help in Emergencies

Updated: Feb. 04, 2022

Alexa can do so much more than simply make your life easier. Find out how your favorite virtual assistant can provide help when you need it the most.

Just when you think you can’t love Alexa any more than you already do, another amazing feature becomes available. This time, it’s the Alexa Emergency Contact, which you can use kind of like a Life Alert necklace. If you’ve fallen and can’t get to a phone, for example, you can use Alexa to get help. Even if you don’t think you need this type of feature, don’t overlook it. Emergencies can arise that make this feature extremely helpful. For example, if you’ve slipped down the stairs and you’ve really hurt yourself, or if you have your hands full because you’re holding a sick child, you can tell Alexa to call for help. That way, you don’t have to search for your phone or even use your hands to unlock it and find the right number. But can Alexa actually call 911? Here’s what you need to know about that, as well as how to set up and use the Alexa Emergency Contact feature. While you’re at it, learn about the other things you didn’t know Alexa could do.

What Alexa can and can’t do in an emergency

The most important thing to know before we get started is that Alexa cannot call 911, but the voice assistant can do the next best thing. It can call a trusted contact, like your significant other, parent, or best friend, when you need help. It’s important to note that connecting Amazon’s Echo Connect device to your home’s landline can make it possible for Alexa to call 911 directly, but this device is currently out of stock and there’s no word on when it will be available again. So, we’ll focus on what Alexa can do using a typical Alexa device such as an Echo, Echo Dot, or Echo Show. If you’re in the market for a new device, find out whether the Amazon Echo or Dot is right for you.

If you use your cell phone as your Alexa device, that works, too—sort of. The app needs to be open on your phone and your screen needs to be unlocked, which may not be the case at the exact moment you need help. You’ll also need to follow a few extra steps: Go into the app settings, tap on Alexa on This Phone in the list, and toggle on the Enable Alexa Hands Free option. This will allow you to communicate with Alexa on your phone (without the need to tap the Alexa button) as long as the app is open. Just remember: If the Alexa app isn’t open and your screen is locked, you’ll be out of luck.

Setting up an Alexa emergency contact

To set up the Alexa Emergency Contact service, all you need to do is designate one of the contacts in your cell phone as your emergency contact in the Alexa app. The process is easy and only takes a few minutes, and once you do it, you’ll be all set with any Alexa devices you have connected to the app.

First, open the Alexa app on your phone and tap on the Communicate icon. This icon is found at the bottom of the screen and looks like a speech bubble. Next, tap on the Contact icon, which looks like the outline of a person. Tap the Menu icon in the upper-right corner of the screen, and then select Emergency Contact from the list of options. From there, follow the on-screen instructions to finish the setup. Make sure the contact number you choose is a cell number and not a landline or the feature won’t work.

Once you’re done, the person you selected will get a text message letting them know that you have made them your emergency contact. So, it may be a good idea to let your friend or family member know before you set up the feature, just so they aren’t surprised by the text.

If your contact ever changes their number, you’ll need to do some maintenance. Thankfully, this isn’t difficult. First, you’ll need to change the contact information in your phone. Then, open the Alexa app so it can refresh the new phone number in your emergency-contact options automatically.

If you ever need to make someone else your emergency contact, it only takes a few minutes to make that change, too. Open the Alexa app on your phone, tap on the Communicate icon, then the Contact Menu icon, and select Emergency Contact again. Your emergency contact will be listed on the screen. Tap on Manage and then Remove As Emergency Contact. Once that’s done, tap Select Contact to add a new emergency contact.

How to use Alexa to call for help

Once set up, Alexa will call and text your emergency contact when triggered. Phrases you can use to trigger this response are:

  • “Alexa, call for help.”

  • “Alexa, call my emergency contact.”

  • “Alexa, call my contact for help.”

  • “Alexa, call my help contact.”

One important note: Your Alexa device has to be connected to Wi-Fi for this to work.

Now that you know whether Alexa can call 911 and how to set up the Emergency Contact feature, there are many other ways to make your voice assistant super helpful.