Emergency tech: from 1666 to modern apps that save lives

October 11, 2017


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On Sunday, September 2, 1666 in a baker’s shop in London, a fire started which would change the course of history as we know it.

This fire rapidly spiraled out of control, quickly spreading around the local areas, eventually engulfing the entire city.

The blaze swept through the city devastating and destroying many buildings, including 13,200 houses, 87 parish churches, The Royal Exchange, Guildhall and St. Paul’s Cathedral, built during the Middle Ages.

The small little flame which rose to a raging inferno, went down in history as The Great Fire of London. As a result, the world was introduced to modern, standardized firefighting.

Emergency services have come a long way since then, but even with our advanced technology there are still improvements to be made, in order to ensure everyone has the best chances of surviving an emergency. Here are a number startups hoping to improve emergency services and generally make our chances of surviving each day a little better.  

SOSmart app

Nearly 1.3 million people die in road crashes each year, or 3,287 deaths a day. An additional 20-50 million are injured or disabled. Even though we may be comfortable driving to work, or jumping in a taxi or Uber, cars are still an incredibly dangerous aspect of our everyday lives. That’s where SOSmart App comes in handy. By using the internal sensors of a smartphone, the app automatically detects and notifies a car crash to contacts and emergency services.

This technology is especially useful for those who are driving alone and experience an accident, or if all members of an accident are unconscious and unable to call for help. In the not too distant future, it is believed that cars will potentially be connected to our new “smart cities” allowing accidents to be detected and reported at rapid speed. 


When an accident happens, time is one of the most crucial factors. According to the LA Times, ambulances in the City of Angels are required to arrive at their destination no more than eight minutes and 59 seconds from the time they are dispatched by 911.

Understandably, during times of emergency it is hard to organize everything quickly, and to ensure a smooth process from the moment a call comes in to the moment paramedics make it on the scene. Carbyne hopes to change all that by streamlining the process with the use of modern technology.

Carbyne distributes Reporty’s public safety and homeland security technology. This New York-based startup is the leading expert in the fields of location sharing, real time communication and incident predictive analytics. This technology allows citizens to tackle one of the most troublesome and time consuming factors which first responders can often face, uncertainty regarding the exact location of a person or person in need of assistance.

Using Reporty location-based services technologies, this difficulty could be a thing of a past, which means countless lives could be saved, so that cases like Shannell Anderson, a 31 year old who died after first responders arrived too late, might have a better a chance of surviving.

Essentially, its quick, easy to use, and seamlessly integrated technology gives the public access to all their emergency and civic services at the single click of a button.


Inspired by the alarmingly high death rate among citizens within his home country of Cameroon, Achiri Arnold Nji came up with the idea of creating an app which could save the lives of public transport users. Traveler is an app which monitors the speed, location and number of passengers on a bus, and through the use of data and machine intelligence, alerts drivers and authorities to possible dangers.

The system automatically sends high speed alerts each time a given bus runs above regulatory speed limits. This helps curb speeding which is responsible for over 70 percent of highway accidents in Cameroon. In the unfortunate case of an accident, the app notifies emergency services and the families of victims.


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