With our mobile phones such a big part of how we communicate and organise our lives, it makes sense that there are a range of apps available to provide vital assistance in an emergency – or help prevent an incident. Whether you’re personally involved in an accident, first on the scene, or just like to be prepared, here are some useful apps that can offer help when it’s needed most.
Emergency+ is a free, national app developed by Australia’s emergency services and their Government and industry partners. It enables users to call the right number at the right time and provide the call-taker with accurate location information, as determined by their mobile phone’s GPS functionality. Emergency+ also includes SES and Police Assistance Line numbers as options so that non-emergency calls are made to the most appropriate number.
If you’re planning a trip to the beach, it’s worth checking out the Beachsafe app first. With up-to-date information provided by Surf Life Saving Australia, this handy app can help you find the nearest patrolled beach with detailed information on the location, weather, surf conditions and hazards to ensure you are well informed of any potential dangers. It also offers expert advice about rip currents, flags and signs, waves, marine life, surf skills and more.
Designed by five students from the University of Michigan, the Companion app was originally created to help students walking alone across campus at night get home safely. Now, however, it has been made available to the public – including in Australia – enabling users to request their friends or family to walk them home virtually and track their journey via a map on their smart phones. Companion users can send requests to contacts in their phone (even if the contact doesn’t have the app themselves). These contacts will receive a text message with a link to an interactive map where they can follow the user as they walk to their destination. If the individual deviates from their programmed path, the app will detect this irregularity and ask if they are okay. They then have 15 seconds to tap a button confirming they are safe or to notify the app that an emergency is occurring, before an alarm is triggered. The aim of the alarm is to scare off any offenders at the scene but the user’s chosen companion will also receive a notification, giving them the option to call them or the police.
Embedded in the iPhone’s Health app is a feature called Medical ID, which allows you to store crucial medical information such as blood type, allergies and any medication you might be on, as well as emergency contact numbers. Even when your phone is locked, this information can be accessed and the contact numbers called, so that if someone finds you unconscious or unable to communicate after an accident they can help. To set this up, all you need to do is open the Health app, tap Medical ID and enter in all your relevant information. Then simply turn on ‘Show When Locked’ and tap Done.
First-Aid Australian Red Cross
The First-Aid Australian Red Cross app is free, easy-to-use and may just save a life. It features up-to-date CPR and First Aid guidelines as set out by the Australian Resuscitation Council (ARC) and simple, step-by-step advice on how to deal with all of the most common first-aid emergencies including allergies, asthma attacks, choking, burns and bleeding, among others. With clear diagrams and photos, as well as questions to answer, the interactive app ensures that every process is clearly explained and easy to follow.