I’ve come to learn that you must always expect the unexpected. It’s easy to see natural disasters happen to people across the world, or hear about tragic accidents, and think, “Well, that would never happen to me!” Believe me, I think that all the time. Unfortunately, emergency situations inevitably happen to everyone. And when those situations come up, it’s better to be safe, than sorry. There’s a lot of apps out there that have been designed to make emergencies a little more bearable, and some are specifically for health-related emergencies. Here’s five apps I think everyone should have on their smart phone — just in case.
1) Alert.MD: This app was created to make sure medical professionals can access information quickly and efficiently during an emergency situation, and to ensure family members are notified as well. Basically, after you register for a free account, you are giving a ID number that you superimpose onto the screen saver or background of your mobile device (the function to do this is in the app.) In an emergency, a medical provider can search the number on Alert.MD and immediately have access to the individual’s emergency contact info, allergies, medications, and known medical conditions. One of the reviews I read said, “I don’t know if I would be here right now if I had not downloaded it!” And others expressed similar sentiments.
Available for free iOS devices; register account for free at Alert.MD
2) First Aid by American Red Cross: It’s not hard to find a first aid app — there’s tons of them. However, not all are created equally, and I think this one created by the American Red Cross is one of the best. It features step-by-step guides for a variety of different first aid scenarios and the ability to call 911 from the app. Not only does it provide information in emergency situations, but it has education for people wanting to learn first aid, in the form of quizzes and videos. The information can be accessed without a wireless internet connection. It is a very clean, user-friendly app, that I think just about anyone could benefit from having. Just as a side note, the American Red Cross also has recently released apps that deal with natural disasters that seem to be pretty handy, all of which can be accessed from the link above.
Available for free on both Android and iOS devices.
3) iTriage Health: The description for this app says it answers two questions — “what medical condition could I have,” and “where should I go for treatment.” It has a doctor search, to help you find a doctor or facility that can best treat your symptoms, as well as find hte nearest ER, urgent care, mental health clinic, and more. Average wait times for local emergency rooms are also available. The database helps users to determine whether or not they need to go to the ER, and what course of action they should take. There are a whole bunch of other features which make this kind of an all-in-one emergency app — I meant, it has almost 5 stars and over 50,000 reviews, it must be doing something right!
Available for free on both Android and iOS devices
4) smart-ICE4Family: This is an interesting twist on the typical emergency information card. The owner of the phone can pre-record a message that plays off information for anyone that presses it. It has places to enter medical information, difficulties, and even “expressed wishes.” There is room for up to 8 people in the app, so a parent (or caregiver) can have all the information they need concerning the health of those in their family or that they care for. One interesting feature is the alert function. When it is pressed, emergency services are called, and a siren goes off. This could be helpful if someone is home alone and has either fallen, had a heart attack, or feel they can’t get to a place that EMTs could find them easily. It also has a “my location” button, which makes it easy to give information to a dispatcher, which would be helpful if someone is an an unfamiliar place.
Available for iOS devices for 2.99.
5) !Emergency!: What happens if you are visiting another country, and an emergency happens? Not every country uses 911 like America, and this app helps solve that problem. It’s simple enough, but basically just provides the emergency contact numbers for countries around the world, as well as helps the user locate hospitals and emergency rooms. It automatically detects which country the user is in, and suggests the correct phone number to call. Obviously, not everyone is going to get a use out of this, but for those that travel, it’s almost a necessity.
Available for iOS devices for .99