Tech support! Technology that saved Americans’ lives in a crisis

From a man’s watch coming to the rescue after he fell through the ice to a phone leading to a lost kayaker’s rescue, these stories explore life-saving tech.


Technology can be a double-edged sword, but in an emergency, it sure can come in handy.

From a lost kayaker whose phone saved his life to a missing man found thanks to a bracelet, here are stories of tech with the ability to save lives and impact the lives of Americans.

Like William Rogers, a tech school teacher who fell through the ice on a frozen river. Hypothermia quickly set in.

"First thing I did was try to walrus up on the ice, knowing that I needed to get out of the water as quickly as possible, and the ice just kept breaking underneath me," he said.

Thankfully, while he didn't have his phone on him, William was able to use his Apple Watch to call for help.

"I told them that I probably had 10 minutes before I was not gonna be able to respond anymore," he said.

Fortunately, firefighters made it there in five minutes.

Elsewhere, a high school lacrosse player's near-death experience led to a protocol change in the league.

Peter Laake was hit in the chest by a routine shot, but he fell and was unresponsive. On-site doctors began chest compressions, but they didn't work, so they used an automated external defibrillator (AED), which reset his heart.

"I heard voices for a couple seconds, and my eyes wouldn't open for a couple seconds," Laake said. "But when my eyes did open, I remember seeing seven to eight people just in a circle around me. So, pretty crazy."

Moving forward, USA Lacrosse decided to make chest protectors mandatory for all players, not just goalies.

In another story, a National Guardsman invented a new beacon that might just be the future of rescue methods, using drone technology.

Saige Martinez, who has a math degree, said, "The time that it takes search and rescue personnel to get to the person, it’s supposed to fill that gap and provide first aid supplies and live updates about the situation as well as GPS location."

The beacon was his final project for a college course he took to break into the tech field.

So a hiker just has to find it and click a button. The device records their location and their oxygen levels, but Saige decided to make it more resistant to the elements.

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