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How These Kenyan Inventors Built Panic Button App To Help Save Lives

Edwin Inganji and five of his friends have partnered to develop a mobile panic app which offers distress call function to users in areas where crime rates are high.

Usalama is an app that alerts law enforcement and nearby app users about dangerous situations with a few shakes of the phone.

This invention was put to place in a bid to profer solution to Kenya’s non-functioning 999.

`When you call 999, it doesn’t go through to anyone,’ laments Edwin Inganji. ‘People just accept this – but it is not acceptable.’

The 22-year-old Kenyan survived an assault by armed robbers in Nairobi on his way home from school, in late 2014.

‘Our plan is that if someone doesn’t have the app or a smartphone, if they trigger a distress signal it will be sent as an SMS,’ he says.

The app has been designed in such a way that when a person feels threatened, they can shake the phone three times to open the app. They can either press the emergency button or hold down the volume button. The phone quickly dispatches the local police and fire departments, and alerts every Usalama user within a 650-foot radius.

The police are expected to be close to the location of the happening or enough app users, who will band together to ward off the attackers.

Inganji and his team are developing a feature that will give users the ability to find one another when they don’t want to walk alone, and they can set a timer that sounds out an alert if they get home when they say they will. The app also offers the ability to call off the alerts by pressing the “Recant” button.

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