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This New App Provides a Voice for Anyone Unable to Speak During an Emergency

A new app is helping people who are unable to speak during an emergency to quickly and effectively get help from those around them.

Jeroen De Busser, a computer science student at the University of Antwerp in Belgium, recently developed “Emergency Chat,” an app that makes it possible for people to communicate quickly when they are unable to speak. De Busser, who has autism, told Upworthy he came up with the idea for the app after having a meltdown during which he was unable to verbally communicate to others what was happening to him.

Emergency Chat allows people to pull up a preprogrammed message on their phones in the midst of an emergency. Users can hand their phone displaying one of the screens below. Display options include “Aspie meltdown” (referring to someone on the autism spectrum), “Trach Meltdown” and “Asthma Attack” — two other emergencies during which the person affected may be unable to speak.

EC App2
Photo via the Emergency Chat Facebook page
EC App
Photo via the Emergency Chat Facebook page
EC App1
Photo via the Emergency Chat Facebook page

After hitting the “continue” button, users can send their own messages to others using a basic chat interface. The user can then explain specifically and quickly how the person or people they’re with can help.

Emergency Chat currently has more than 500 users and counting, according to The Huffington Post. In addition to helping people communicate when speaking is not an option, the app could also help well-meaning bystanders know exactly what they can do to be helpful so they don’t unintentionally cause more harm than good.

The Emergency Chat app is available for download for Android devices here. An iOS version of the app is currently in the works.

h/t HuffPost Media