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The unpredictable character of emergencies underscores the importance of having a dependable method to call for help. This is particularly crucial for elderly people or those living by themselves due to several reasons. They could encounter sudden health issues, experience unexpected events, or lack essential communication tools like a phone. These factors could hamper their ability to request aid in dire circumstances.

That’s where Alexa comes in. This voice-activated device can be a lifesaver in an emergency. 

In this article, I explore how your Echo smart speaker can be used as a tool to reach out for help, and what are some of the limitations of its emergency response capabilities.

So, let’s dive into the details and tackle the most important question.

Can Alexa Call 911?

Alexa cannot call 911 directly unless you have synced your mobile phone account and signed up to “Verizon NumberShare – Home” or “AT&T NumberSync” in the US or “Vodafone OneNumber” in the UK.

Alternatively, you can subscribe to Alexa Guard Plus and avail of their emergency helpline to request emergency responders. Or you can call one of your own emergency contacts who can dial 911 on your behalf.

Note: It was possible to call 911 via an Echo Connect device however Amazon discontinued these devices in 2020.


Option 1: Verizon NumberShare and AT&T NumberSync

If you have a phone plan with AT&T or Verizon, you can connect your mobile number to an Alexa-enabled device to make and receive calls hands-free. For $5 per line per month, Verizon's Number Share service lets you link Alexa with your Verizon number. AT&T has a similar service called NumberSync. 

Once you're set up, you can make hands-free calls and Alexa will also tell you who's calling when you receive a call. You can even make emergency calls using your Alexa-enabled device with the following command.

  • “Alexa, call 911”

Below is the 911 calling information from Verizon FAQs

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Below is the 911 emergency calling information from AT&T FAQs

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Below is the 999 emergency calling information from Vodafone FAQs

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How do I set up Verizon, AT&T, or Vodafone Calling on Alexa?

To configure either carrier on your Alexa account, 

  • Go to the Alexa App,
  • Go to More on the bottom right.
  • Go to “Communication”
  • Press on AT&T or Verizon
  • Follow the steps to Link Your Account

Once complete, your mobile phone calls will be routed through your Alexa devices and you can then make outbound calls as needed (including emergency calls)

Below are screenshots of the process of connecting a Vodafone UK account to Alexa. It’s the same process for AT&T and Verizon

Option 2: Use Alexa Guard Plus

With Alexa Guard Plus, you can get help in an emergency just by talking to your Echo device. You can say:

  • “Alexa, call for help” 

And you'll be connected to trained agents who can call the police, fire department, or ambulance based on the information you provide.

Guard Plus can also alert you if it detects activity in your home while you're away, like footsteps or glass breaking. You'll get a notification on your phone and a siren will play on your Echo.

can alexa call 911

Smart Lighting and Barking Dogs!

If you have connected smart lights and cameras, Alexa can turn on and off the lights to make it look like someone is home and play the sound of a barking dog to scare off intruders.

Setting up Guard Plus is easy. Just tap the button on the Guard Plus web page or say: 

  • “Alexa, try Guard Plus.”

After you check out, you need to add an emergency address in the Alexa app to finish setting up Guard Plus and activate your subscription. Then to enable Guard Mode you simply say “Alexa, I'm leaving” and the white ring appears on the Echo speaker.

But remember, Guard Plus is not a professional monitoring service and cannot replace a traditional alarm system. For professional monitoring and other features, Guard Plus works with supported alarm systems from Ring, Scout Alarm, and ADT.

More information on Alexa Guard Plus here

Option 3 – Trigger Alexa Emergency Contact

In the US, Alexa can make phone calls to landline and mobile numbers. This is typically done via a list of contacts you upload. You can also set an “Emergency Contact”.

An Alexa Emergency Contact is someone you can tell Alexa to call or text for help in an emergency. You can set up an emergency contact in the Alexa app after you've set up Alexa Communications.

To set up an emergency contact, you need to choose someone from your contacts list and send them a message informing them that they are your emergency contact. Then, when you say one of the following phrases, Alexa will try to call or text your emergency contact:

  • “Alexa, call for help”
  • “Alexa, call my emergency contact”
  • “Alexa, I need help”

If anyone in your house asks Alexa for help, Alexa will try to contact your emergency contact. However, if your Echo device is not connected to Wi-Fi or if the phone number is wrong, Alexa won't be able to reach your emergency contact.

How to set up an emergency Alexa contact

You can choose someone from your phone contacts to be your emergency contact, but it has to be a US number and can't be 911, a premium-rate number, a three-digit number, or a dial-by-letter number.

  1. Open the app
  2. Click on “Communicate,”
  3. Click on the contact icon. 
  4. Click “Emergency Contact” 
  5. Input your contact's info.

Remember to test this feature from time to time to make sure everything is working correctly. 

Option 4 – Use the “Ask My Buddy” Alexa Skill

Ask My Buddy is a network that can help you ask for help using just your voice. It's the perfect tool to contact a group of people that you trust in case of an emergency. It works with Alexa, so you can use your voice to let people know that you need help. All you have to do is set up a network of emergency contacts on Ask My Buddy website, and then, you can use Alexa to send them a message when you're in trouble.

How it works

When you say the following trigger words, the network will be alerted to check on you.

  • “Alexa, Ask My Buddy to send help”
  • “Alexa, Ask My Buddy to alert {Name}”

You can even choose to notify just one person or your whole network simply by giving Alexa a voice command. If you're a premium user, you can specify what the problem is. Your contacts will be notified using a message, phone call, or email.

It's important to understand that Ask My Buddy can't call 911 for you, but it lets you reach out to a group of people who can help you. The more people you contact, the better. 

How to set it up

You can easily set up Ask My Buddy by visiting the website and creating an account there. Then, access the Contacts page, add your emergency contacts, and link your account to Alexa. 

Option 5 – Use the “My SOS Family” Alexa Skill

My SOS Family is an alert system, similar to the “Ask My Buddy” skill that helps you get help quickly in an emergency. You can use your voice to activate it, and it contacts your pre-set SOS family contacts to ask for help. It's easy to use and works anytime, anywhere.

There are lots of ways to get help with My SOS Family, such as the below voice command to Alexa, their free smartphone app, or a special personal SOS number that can be speed-dialed.

  •  “Alexa Open My SOS Family and send for Help”

Setting up My SOS Family is quick and easy. Just create an account and add your name and phone number, then add as many SOS contacts as you like. Your contacts don't need any special apps or Wi-Fi to receive alerts, and if you don't have access to Alexa, you can still use the app or landline as a backup.

More information here –

Alexa White ring 1

Option 6 – Call a Family Member or Friend who can then dial 911

Similar to the emergency contact option, if you need to call 911 but cannot do it yourself, you can ask Alexa to call one of your contacts to request emergency responders.

Note: This is different from Option 1 where calls are relayed through your mobile phone carrier. These call options below are sent from Alexa’s servers.

You have two call options here

  • “Alexa-to-Alexa Call” – which contacts another person's Alexa App or Echo speaker(s)
  • “Alexa-to-Phone Call” – which contacts their landline or mobile number

As of November 2021, the “Alexa-to-Phone Call” option is now limited to 10 selected contacts.

Each person in your household with an Alexa profile can choose their own 10 numbers. If your contacts list is full, you can use the Alexa app to manage these contacts. 

  1. Go to the app and press “More” on the bottom right 
  2. “Settings” 
  3. “Communication” 
  4. “Manage Contacts” 
  5. “Alexa-to-Phone Contacts”

When you want to make a call, simply tell Alexa “Call {Name}”. The person's phone (and possibly Echo device) will ring, and they can pick up the phone or ask Alexa to answer.

Not a bad option in an emergency.

Option 7 – Save the local police precinct’s landline number as a contact and ask Alexa to call that

While Alexa cannot dial 911 by default, you can try and store your local police precinct’s phone number as an emergency contact.

As it’s a landline number, Alexa should be able to dial it. The downside of this option is that a lot of police stations are very busy. Unlike calls to 911 which are answered almost immediately, calls to the local station may go unanswered which is of little help in an emergency.

For that reason, I don’t really recommend this approach.

Alexa Emergency Call FAQs

What happens when you ask Alexa to call 911?

When you ask Alexa to call 911, she will give you the response, “Sorry I can't help, please call emergency services directly with your phone” This is because Alexa is not yet equipped to call emergency services like 911 directly.

Why can't Alexa call emergency services directly?

Alexa cannot call emergency services directly because Federal Communications Commission guidelines require that devices making 911 calls provide location information, which Alexa is not capable of doing.


In conclusion, while Alexa cannot call 911 directly (unless via AT&T or Verizon), it's still a valuable asset in an emergency situation. As discussed, you can use Alexa to call a family member or friend who can then call for help on your behalf. Or you can utilize Alexa Guard Plus to access their emergency helpline to get assistance dispatched. 



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