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Canadians use SOS via satellite on iPhone 14 to help combat wildfire

SOS via satellite

Canadians dealing with an island wildfire used SOS via satellite to contact emergency services despite a lack of cellular connection.

SOS via satellite is a new feature available on iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro that lets users contact emergency services when cellular signals aren't available. It is generally used in emergencies, like when a hiker is lost or injured, but it also has other uses.

According to a report from SooToday, a pair of Missanabie residents (that's in Ontario, Canada) utilized the iPhone 14 feature to contact emergency services while combating a forest fire on Dog Lake. Warren Thibodeau and Orel Crack worked with local firefighter Craig Spooner to boat to the island fire and begin extinguishing it.

They managed to circle the island and spray water on the fire until it was eventually extinguished, and help from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry arrived. The event was photographed and shared by Eric Belanger.

"We were able to get assistance from the MNR by using the new GlobalStar emergency feature of the iPhone 14 while pulling up to the burning island," Belanger said in a statement. "Marc G., a camper at Dog Lake Cottages and Campground, went back to check on the island the day after and MNRF were in the process of cleaning up."

Dog Lake fire. Image shared by Eric Belanger via SooToday.
Dog Lake fire. Image shared by Eric Belanger via SooToday.

SOS via satellite appears as an option when no other cellular signal is available. On-screen prompts direct the user to aim their iPhone towards a nearby satellite to get a signal.

It collects data about the reported event and provides emergency responders with the user's location. The feature attempts to keep communications streamlined due to the slow data transfer speeds and poor connection quality.