updated 10/12/2011 12:50:13 PM ET 2011-10-12T16:50:13

SAN DIEGO — Everyone knows to call 911 if your house has been burglarized, your car's been stolen or you witness a crime and you want to get police and other emergency officials to the scene. But what about for all the cases when you need immediate assistance but aren't sure a call to 911 is warranted? GreatCall has an answer.

San-Diego based GreatCall has released a new app called "5Star Urgent Response" that, with the push of two buttons (5 and the "star" button), connects customers to a local call center that it says is manned by experienced dispatchers trained to provide help in all emergency and non-emergency situations. The app is available only to owners of a Jitterbug phone, GreatCall's no-contract mobile phone designed to serve as a personal safety device.

5Star's dispatchers can offer a range of assistance, GreatCall says, from advising you on what to do in the event of a gas leak or runaway pet to giving you directions or helping connect you to a locksmith if you lose your keys. Agents will even remain on the phone with customers who are walking through a deserted parking lot at night.

To help expedite and streamline calls to provide the most accurate service possible, 5Star agents can monitor the GPS locations of callers and access their personal profiles, including their medical conditions, emergency contacts, vehicle information and the caller's frequent locations.

"Our dispatchers will stay on the line until the situation is resolved," Kellie Fernandez, GreatCall training manager, told SecurityNewsDaily yesterday (Oct. 11) at the CTIA Enterprise & Applications convention here. Call centers are open 24/7, and each call-center employee is certified by the National Academies of Emergency Dispatch, Fernandez said.

The overarching goal of 5Star is to keep customers "connected, safe and healthy," Fernandez said.

Fernandez explained that 5Star Urgent Response is not a replacement for 911, but instead functions as a support system for the national emergency line ; if a caller is experiencing an emergency that warrants immediate medical or police attention, call center employees will transfer the call to 911.

Available for $14.99 per month at GreatCall's website, the 5Star app for Jitterbug owners also comes with a complimentary app called LiveNurse that provides callers with round-the-clock access to registered nurses.

© 2012 SecurityNewsDaily. All rights reserved


Discussion comments


Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments