A battalion chief with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection was reunited with his family after they fled their burning home — thanks to Apple’s “Find my iPhone” feature.
Paul Duncan was on a job fighting a forest fire in Hidden Valley, California, when he received a panicked call from his wife saying that his family — consisting of his wife, son and two teenaged daughters — had escaped from their neighborhood when another major wildfire broke out.
The family had to grab a handful of items and leave in three separate cars, only to find that they were blocked in by a massive wall of flames.
“[I told them] you need to drive all the way through the fire—just step on the gas, look straight ahead, don’t pay attention to what’s going on around you, focus on driving, and get out of there,” Duncan said. “They did. My 17-year-old did a spectacular job of getting her 15-year-old sister, who was in the truck with her, both hysterically crying, she was able to pull it together and find the fortitude to drive through the inferno.”
The daughters drove away, but Duncan’s son and wife stopped to successfully rescue a neighbor’s dog caught in a burning house.
“I just kept looking at the Find My iPhone App because I have all of the kids and my wife on that,” Duncan continued. “I was just trying to find them and see where they made it. It was an unbelievable relief when I was able to find out that they had made it into Lower Lake, which I knew was on the other side of the fire.”
While it was Duncan’s advice and some quick-thinking on the part of his family that saved their lives, it’s still great to hear stories like this about technology’s usefulness in scenarios like this.
This isn’t an isolated incident. Last month we heard about the man trapped under a truck who was able to use Siri to call for emergency services, while Facebook has also implemented tools to help people spread news of their safety in disaster zones.