More Than Just 911: Your Phone In An Emergency


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Ever since the invention of mobile phones, we’ve all felt safer. As well as ensuring we can stay in touch with loved ones, our phones give us a fast track to the emergency services. So much so that about 70% of 911 calls now come from mobiles. That’s a significant amount, and it’s no surprise. When an emergency strikes, you can hardly be expected to make your way to a landline. But, your mobile is in your pocket, ready for use whenever you might need it. And, that comes as a huge relief and comfort.

In truth, though, as phones develop, so do their capabilities in emergency situations. In years gone by, they transformed the emergency game by giving us easy access. You don’t need us to tell you that things have come on in a significant way. Now, our mobiles offer us many more opportunities than just a quick call. Most modern models can do a wealth of things which could save our lives should anything happen. Next time you think about heading out without your phone, think again. Here are a few of the ways it could save you.

The key to location

You could argue that the primary way our phones now help us in an emergency is through GPS tracking. In days of old, the emergency services had no real way of tracking where you were unless you told them. Either that or they would have to embark on a long-winded process of tracing your phone. And, that was if you called from home. Now, we all have GPS on our phones. If you turn on your location devices at all times, you’re easy enough to trace through a phone call. You can even link your phone to your loved ones so that they can see where you are at any given time. If you’re late home, or they can’t get hold of you, they can provide your location to the emergency services just like that.

Equally, services like Google Maps can ensure you’re always able to give an accurate idea of where you are. If you’re running from a perceived threat or driving through an unfamiliar area, you may not know details to pass to the police. In this instance, you can check Google Maps and see precisely where you are, with street names and nearby landmarks shown.

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The app for the job

There is now an app for everything, and most of us have a fair few on our phones. We play games on them, communicate with friends on them, and generally live our lives through these tiny phone icons. It should come as no surprise, then, that there are also apps which can help in an emergency. There are many options out there which you should take the time to download before anything happens. That way, your phone could, quite literally, take control if you need it to. Most of these also use those GPS services we spoke about above, so again, your location could save you.

Something like the ICE standard app can act as an emergency information card. It’ll pass on information if you’re unconscious or unable to speak to emergency services. This places all your health info on your lock screen. The emergency services will be able to see it without even opening your phone. The app is also able to send your information to a 911 operator when you call, using something called Smart911.

And, that’s not the only option. Another app worth attention here is Red Panic Button, which sends an emergency message and GPS location to any chosen contact. All you need to do to send that information is press the button. If you’re worried you’re being followed, this could make a huge difference.

There are even apps like Hold Until Safe. Here, you have a button to press if you’re in an area which makes you feel unsafe. All you need to do is keep pushing it until you’re safe again, then enter a code to deactivate. If you don’t enter that code, the app will contact the police with your location. How good is that? And these aren’t the only options. There are many apps which offer similar security measures. Just do your research to find out which would work best for you.

Voice recognition

In recent years, voice recognition has been on the rise with inventions like Siri on iPhones. These helpful little assistants are only a click away when we want to know information through the day. And, of course, we’ve all played with the funny programmed responses such services offer. They provide endless hours of fun. But, that isn’t all voice recognition is good for. This, paired with GPS, could also save your life. While many users don’t realize it, Siri can also do something much more important – she can contact emergency services. Even better, she’s programmed to accept discreet voice commands. Merely saying, ‘Siri, call for help’ will ensure she calls 911. It’s also possible to use codes from other countries to get the job done if you’re in a compromising situation. In March of last year, there was a widespread prank urging users to ask Siri to call 108. This is the code for emergency services in India. It prompts the program to contact local emergency services.

If you’re ever afraid but unable to show it, this could be the ideal disguise for an emergency call. Say you’re in a volatile situation and don’t want to anger those you’re with, for example. Equally, this would be the ideal option if you’re in an accident and can’t reach your phone. Using this in conjunction with GPS and apps like ICE Standard, you’ll be able to receive the care you need.

Camera capabilities

All new model phones come complete with top quality cameras. In most cases, these have both photo and video capabilities. Both of which have the potential to make a huge difference in an emergency situation. Never before have we had such ready access to recording devices. These can make a huge difference in seeing justice done.

By taking photographs of crimes, you can increase the chances of the perpetrators being caught. On the road, you can take snaps of number plates without having to worry about making notes. If someone threatens you or makes you feel uncomfortable, you can take a picture of them, or film the threats from a safe place. Sometimes, even the threat of you having proof is enough to stop criminals in their tracks. These recording devices can also prove a huge help in situations such as car accidents. As can be seen from articles like this great legal resource written by an attorney that specializes in car accidents, it’s crucial you take the right steps after the event. And, an essential part of that is getting documented proof, including photos and videos, of the damage at the scene. These will have times and dates attached to them and could make a huge difference if the incident goes to court, or you end with lasting injuries.

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The right information

Last but by no means least, modern phones also come complete with internet access. And, this can be a huge help in an emergency situation. By using the internet, you can find out all sorts of things about how to deal with what’s happened. If you’re waiting for emergency services, this could be the difference between life and death. If you’re experiencing an allergic reaction or something similar, searching for what to do online could save your life. And, the capabilities of the internet don’t end there. You can also find information on survival if you find yourself stranded. Plus, you can use online searches to find emergency centers nearby if you feel capable of making your way.

Social media also plays its part here. After the emergency filled year we’ve experienced, Facebook developed a ‘check-in’ system. This ensures those close to disasters can check in and let loved ones know they’re safe. It’s worth using such methods so your loved ones know to contact emergency services on your behalf if you don’t let them know where you are.

A final word

In conclusion, mobile technology has changed the way we view and handle emergencies. With your trusted phone in your pocket, you’ll always be one click away from people who can help you. That’s a massive source of comfort, and a pressing reason to never leave the house without your phone. Of course, these methods only work if your phone remains in one piece, which isn’t always guaranteed. Horrible as it sounds, a broken phone won’t do you much good. It’s worth investing in a phone case which protects your screen. Even keeping your phone in a secure holder while you’re driving will help. Failing that, place it in your glove box when you get in the car. These steps ensure it has a better chance of surviving and saving you in the process.