How to set up your smartphone to save your life

How to set up your smartphone to save your life

Telling an emergency response person your exact location can be challenging in an emergency situation. Dialling a phone number in a life threatening situation is not always physically possible. Did you know that most current smartphones have an in-built safety feature that can automatically send audio, images and location details straight to your emergency contact? The secret to your safety is to make sure you know your phone’s capabilities and that you’ve set up safety features before you next step out of your front door.

Go to ‘Settings’ on your smartphone now

While the range of mobile devices on the market makes it tricky to write an easy to follow ‘how to’ guide for all readers, the generic advice offered in this article should be sufficient to get you started. If you’re getting stuck or can’t navigate through the settings on your smartphone, pop into your mobile network provider’s store and ask for help to set your phone up to potentially save your life.

Before you do anything else today, go to the ‘System Settings’ or ‘Settings’ menu on your smartphone and look for the options that use words like ‘safety assistance’, ‘emergency settings’, ‘medical’ or ‘health’. The life saving tips we’re about to share will only be effective if you’ve enabled the features on your smartphone, or installed and set up the relevant apps.

Please note, the safety and medical identification features on your smartphone or available via iTunes App Store for iPhones or Google Play for Android devices are not meant to replace calling ‘000’ or ‘112’ emergency services. Make sure you dial ‘000’ for assistance before you do anything else, if you can.

Store your medical details on a Medical ID or In Case of Emergency (ICE) app or feature

Within your iPhone and for some Android phones, you’ll find a free, built-in health app. Within most smartphone health apps you’ll find a medical profile feature that enables you to store vital and perhaps life saving medical information such as your blood type, allergies, medical conditions and medical contacts. If you can’t find an in-built medical profile feature on your device, search the App Store for Apple devices, or Google Play for Android devices to download an app.

Research the app first and ensure that it can be set up to be accessed from the lock screen of your phone for emergency medical staff to access easily. Search your app store using the term ‘medical id’, ‘in case of emergency’ or ‘medical profile’ to find an app that will work for you. The image above this blog article was made possible on my Android device using the ‘Medical ID’ Android app. ICE – In Case of Emergency is another Android app with plenty of safety features for emergency situations.

Find a medical information storage app or smartphone feature that is easily accessed if your smartphone is locked.

Find a medical information storage app or smartphone feature that is easily accessed if your smartphone is locked.

No mobile coverage in the area via your mobile provider? A 000 emergency call may still be possible.

According to the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), special mobile roaming capabilities of phones dialling 000 ensure that if you’re out of your service provider’s mobile coverage area, your call will be carried on an alternative carrier’s network if there is mobile coverage in the area. However, if none of the mobile service providers have mobile coverage in the area, you won’t be able to connect the call. Find out more at ACMA > Phones > Emergency calls from mobiles.

Tell Emergency Services your exact location via the Emergency+ App

The National Triple Zero Awareness Work Group has developed a free app called Emergency+. By installing this app on your smartphone, your GPS or location information is displayed on your mobile phone screen so that you can tell emergency call takers picking up your 000 call exactly where you are according to your smartphone GPS. Download this potentially life saving App – Emergency+.

Quietly alert primary contacts with audio and visual location cues in a few clicks

In the ‘Settings’ menu of your smartphone, look for a section called ‘Safety’ or ‘Send Help Messages’.  For example on my Samsung Galaxy Note 4, if I press the power key quickly 3 times, it will send a quick alert to my primary contact or contacts (make sure to set this up using the ‘Settings’ of your smartphone). Your contact will be sent a sound byte from your location; a few images from your phone’s camera and location details if GPS is enabled in your settings. Test it out but make sure you warn your primary contact first! Here is what my test looked like. What it doesn’t show is the audio file it also fired off to my contact within about 10 seconds.

Stay up to date with local emergency notifications via Geo News

Geo News is a location based notification service built into many smartphone systems’ settings, designed to provide weather, environmental and geological information to you for your personal use. You can also set up a notification service that will inform your chosen emergency contacts. If your smartphone doesn’t have this option built-in, download an app such as Emergency AUS for Android or iPhones.

Always check with local media or authorities for more detailed and accurate information.

Don’t procrastinate on setting up these potentially life saving apps and features. And don’t forget to charge up your mobile phone before you head out your front door, and use battery saving settings such as choosing a power saving mode or dimming your screen.

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