EMS Access Code

I’m a volunteer first responder and I have a ring security system and z-wave door locks in my house.

It occurred to me this morning as I was alone in the house on the first day of a new medication, that if there was an emergency and EMS had to gain access to me, I’d have to wait for police to respond and kick my door in for the ambulance crew to be able to treat me.

As a first responder, I’ve been on the other side of this nightmare scenario several times - there’s been a 911 call to a house, we show up, but the doors are locked and we can’t get in - we have to wait for police or a family member to arrive to unlock the door, costing vital seconds or minutes of time that could be used to treat or evacuate the patient.

Today, I set up a code in my system to grant access to first responders and called AMR to put the access code on file for my address, but not everybody knows to do that. There’s also the potential for abuse, as a code to my house is now “out there”. This code not only unlocks my doors but also disables my alarm.

My proposed new feature is this: An EMS Access Code. This feature would work as follows:

  1. The app is updated to allow the user to set an EMS access code.

  2. The code is placed on file with whatever first-response agency covers the location. Either this could happen automatically because Ring notifies the agency, or the app could provide directions to the user for how to call the agency and put the code on file. If that’s not an option, then allowing EMS to contact ring to obtain a code would suffice. Perhaps there could be a sticker on the front door with a phone number to the Ring call center. There would need to be some kind of authentication system to verify that a first responder was calling, but that’s something for Ring to figure out.

  3. Using the code on the door knob unlocks the doors but also immediately triggers the alarm and sets any and all available cameras to begin recording if they are not already.

  4. Since the emergency comm center will already know about the emergency at the location, the alarm can be disregarded and/or silenced.

If the code is abused, say for instance an employee of the EMS agency gets a code and uses it for unauthorized access, then the alarm being triggered by the code will dispatch the police to investigate as though a sensor had been tripped when the alarm was armed.

I believe this feature could literally save lives and reduce the time to access a patient in case of an emergency. This could also be a selling point for elderly customers that live alone, and provide peace-of-mind to family members who would otherwise be the emergency point of contact.