Your phone can save your life in an emergency

Your phone can save your life in an emergency

It can happen in a split second. One minute, everything’s fine and then a wrong turn, an unexpected storm, or a loud noise in the next room could put you in a dangerous situation. Whether you’re stranded on the side of the road in a blizzard, trapped in your home due to a hurricane and subsequent flooding or in a situation where you can’t dial 911, you have an important, potentially life-saving tool in your pocket: your phone.

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It’s far too easy to take our phones for granted as tools of entertainment and communication, but everyone from police departments to first responders realize our phones are a vital tool during emergency situations.

Earlier this year, a young man’s life was saved after he began having an asthma attack and dialed 911 from his Android phone. Despite not being able to communicate with the operator, his location was sent to the call center and help arrived in time. In 2017, a 4-year-old saved his mom’s life just by asking Siri to call for help.

These extreme examples underscore the role that phones can play in preventing loss of life when situations spin out of control. It’s smart to understand how a few settings, apps and other tools could potentially help. As always, preparation and education are the first steps.

We talked to the Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO) in Colorado for advice and tips about how our phones are oftentimes the most important tool we have in an emergency. It could, quite literally, be your lifeline.

Be prepared

It’s impossible to account for every situation or predicament you might find yourself in, but you can take some steps to be prepared for whatever life throws your way. Here are some general recommendations that apply to nearly every type of emergency situation.

Have external battery packs handy

At the very least, have a portable battery pack on hand to prolong your phone’s battery life. If you’re camping and know you’re going to be away from a power source for an extended amount of time, it may make sense to take more than one battery pack with you. Depending on the battery pack, you should be able to fully charge your phone three to four times.

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There are plenty of affordable packs for Android and iPhone that fit in a pocket or backpack and weigh less than a pound each. The most important point the PCSO drove home when we talked to them is that keeping your phone charged and powered on is critical.

Emergency services can use nearby cellular towers to triangulate your location, but that’s not possible if your phone runs out of juice and turns off. Keep a portable battery pack in your car’s glove box or in your backpack (they weigh around three-quarters of a pound) at all times.

Be aware that hot environments may reduce the battery pack’s life span, so you’ll want to periodically check to make sure they’re in good condition and fully charged.

Or if you live in an area that frequently has natural disasters, consider a more robust power station. Portable power stations are roughly the size of a small speaker and can be kept under a cabinet or on a desk in your home.

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Keep the station plugged in and always charged. If the power goes out, you’ll have a device that can charge your phone, or if need be, power a mini fridge or medical device for a few hours until help arrives, e.g. to keep insulin or other important medications cold.

Anker’s PowerHouse line ($300) and Jackery’s HLS 290 ($350) both have capacities three to four times that of a smaller portable pack, and will fully recharge your phone up to 12 times or run small appliances up to four hours. Your phone will last longer when you turn off features that drain your battery.

Share your location with trusted friends now

Should you get lost, fall unconscious or go missing, the ability for friends and family members to find you without any interaction on your part is vital. Apple and Googleboth offer services that allow only those who you completely trust to check in on your whereabouts.

If you use an iPhone, set up the Find My Friends app. The app allows approved friends or family members to monitor your location. If you don’t want to grant access to constant location tracking, you can always grant temporary permission, but keep in mind that in some situations you may not have time, or the ability, to send out temporary requests.

If you use Android, Google Maps has a location-sharing feature that will provide your current location, and even include your phone’s current battery level with contacts of your choosing. Third party tracking apps, such as Glympse, do the same.

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Set up emergency contacts and medical info

All phones come with some sort of emergency contact or medical ID feature built-in, and emergency responders are trained to look at a person’s phone to view emergency contact information and any important medical issues they may have — even if your phone is locked.

On iPhone, set up the Medical ID feature by opening the Health app and selecting the Medical ID tab followed by Edit and turn on Show When Locked. Enter all of your information, as well as who should be contacted, and then tap Done. A Medical ID button will display on your iPhone’s lock screen that will allow first responders to access all your information…….Read More>>

 

Source:- cnet

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