You have all the best apps on your cellphone, including Facebook, Twitter, and Google. But what about emergency apps — apps that can actually save your life? When emergencies strike, seconds matter. Your cellphone can be your lifeline.
You may not even know it, but chances are great you have a native Health app — one already installed on your phone. Both of the most popular phones — iPhone and Android —come with their own version of this app installed. The Health app contains important information like your blood type and has the ability to be accessed even if you are unable to enter your password. That could mean the difference between life and death in an emergency situation.
What about an app that alerts your emergency contacts in case you don't show up at a specified time? There's an app for that, and it's called Bugle. How's that for peace of mind? Get familiar with these and other popular apps included in this list — they give new definition to the phrase "must-have apps." You might just find there are few you can't do without.
1. Medical ID First, use what you already have installed. Smartphones now let you create a "Medical ID" that can be accessed from the Emergency Call screen — no password necessary. This is crucial so first responders can identify you and your medical needs in the event of an emergency. To create a Medical ID you have to access the pre-installed Health app on your phone and follow the instructions provided. To access the medical ID, once created, just go to the lock screen, tap on "Emergency" or "Emergency Call" for Android, and the Medical ID will pop up with pertinent information (full name, emergency contact, and blood type). This information will also help anyone who finds your phone get it back to you.
2. ICE Standard ER 911 ICE stands for "in case of emergency," and this app hits it out of the park if there's a problem. Think of it as a digital emergency card, instead of any current physical card you may be carrying now. Emergency responders can check your phone for important information on you in case you're unconscious or can't communicate verbally.
Same as the Medical ID, ICE puts your health information on the lock screen of your phone so first responders can access all your information at a glance. ICE also has a feature called Smart 911 that sends your digital emergency card to operators when you call 911. That can save precious time. As for that physical emergency card — nothing beats a back up. Keep a physical one on you anyway, in case your phone is damaged or lost. Or if its battery is dead.
3. Bugle This app helps loved ones find you in case of an emergency. It's a free notification service that alerts your family if you don't check in when you're expected to. That can make a critical difference to someone in trouble. Here's how it works: For any event, such as a hiking or camping trip, you create an activity log, determine a check-in time, and assign an emergency contact. So, if you log that you're going on a trip and you don't check in by the assigned time that you have designated, for instance, the app will immediately reach out to your designated emergency contact. This app is indispensible for traveling (especially outside of the country) or when visiting unfamiliar places.
4. !Emergency! Not all countries use 911 as a standard for emergency contact. This app takes care of that — it will actually determine what country you are in and dial the correct emergency number for you. This can be a lifesaver when precious seconds count and you may not be at your best for sorting information. A must for frequent travelers.
5. Kitestring Similar to Bugle, this service will check up on you when you're out, and alert friends if you don't respond. The major difference is, Kitestring can be used on any phone with text messaging. You can give Kitestring a heads up when you're going out at night, meeting up with a stranger or embarking on a trip out of town. Kitestring will then check up on you with a simple message, and if you don't text back, it will alert your friends. Just make sure you don't fall asleep or let your phone die; your contacts will be alerted.
6. Family Locater This location-sharing app keeps record of friends and family so everyone knows where they are at any given time. Best of all, anyone using the service can turn off location-sharing feature at will. If you are keen on traveling or roaming unfamiliar places — where it's easy to get lost — this app is a great support system. Those using the service can send automatic alerts when they arrive at their destination or when they leave a certain place. They can also message each other with share to-do lists.
7. Red Panic Button At last — your very own red button. But it's only for emergencies: This app can send an emergency message to any email or phone number with a press of a button. You can even preset an emergency message and contact and the person you designate will receive an alert with your location.
8. SirenGPS Ingenious — SOS with the press of a button. However, unlike the previous apps this one contacts emergency personnel and sends your location to the police, paramedics or firefighters. So, if you're out in an unsafe place or simply find yourself in suspicious circumstances, you can keep the app open and be ready to press press one of three buttons: Fire, Ambulance, or Police. By creating a profile with all your personal information, emergency responders will receive your location and dispatch help.
9. Social Alert With a click of a button this app sends out an alert to your friends and family in the event of an emergency. It can do the basics — it can send a text message to any phone — but what makes this app different is that it works with social media — think Twitter and Facebook — to allow you to send a customized message that lets everyone where you are and that you need help fast. And if authorities can pinpoint your exact location, they can get that help to you that much faster. There's also a countdown timer that will send a message automatically if not deactivated.
10. Guardly Mobile This app is more for organizations and work spaces, but still saves lives. Guardly Mobile can be used by security operators and dispatchers to send emergency and operational alerts to staff and members in a crisis. For example, if there were an active shooter at the mall, a security operator can send a critical alert to all mall employees so that they can take precautions. Emergency alerts can also be used for fires, theft, and even severe weather conditions.
Don't forget the tools in your toolbox after you contact the authorities. Let your cellphone work for you — it's not just for texting your kids. If you do find yourself in an emergency situation, let friends and family know your status via Facebook — especially when traveling. And your phone is a camera — use it to document your situation. That can really help when tensions die down. Don't forget your flashlight as well — since many accidents occur at night, this can be a real life-saver.
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