Your Cellphone Could Save You in an Emergency
What if there were a news outlet that placed reporters on the scene immediately after an emergency occurred?
That's just a fantasy, right? News gatherers can't be everywhere at the same time. Or can they?
Actually, with social media, they often can. It happens nearly every time there is a crisis situation these days. Within seconds, people are on the scene, posting images and comments about what's going on.
From politics, to storm damage, to stranded vehicles from blizzards... social media is all over it.
Phones – the New TV News Cameras
It seems just about everybody carries a cell phone these days. Ninety-four percent of Americans, to be exact.
911 calls get first responders involved. But social media postings result in reporters arriving on the scene in minutes.
This goes for text messaging too. A typical text is read within three minutes 90 percent of the time. This speedy read time allows for a fast flow of information.
The more media coverage there is, the more people realize what's going on. That coverage also informs first responders and law enforcement about unfolding situations.
Built-in Emergency SOS Tools
I hope you never have to use your cell phone to get help, due to an accident, injury or other crisis. But if you do need it for that purpose, there are built-in emergency tools on your phone that can help you in a crisis.
I want to share some of those tools with you. Then I'll provide you with some practical tips to make sure your cellphone is ready to use when you need it most.
The first thing you should make sure of is that your phone is turned off in order to save power, right? Wrong! If your phone is turned off, Emergency Services will not be able to contact you. And your phone will not be able to be located.
Apps such as "Find My Phone" and "Find My Friends" can be valuable. So download one of them to your phone.
Emergency Contacts on Alert
An iPhone has built-in emergency SOS tools you can use in an emergency. But you have to know how to use them.
In most versions of the iPhone, you can start your SOS by pressing the power button five times. Then drag the red slider over to start your 911 call.
Once your call is completed, your phone will send a text message to your emergency contacts. It will give them your location and notify them when your location changes.
Newer iPhones feature a built-in Medical ID page on the Emergency Call screen. This lets you store personal and medical information. Such as your name, age, conditions, allergies, blood type and medicines you take. It can be accessed without requiring a PIN to unlock your phone.
5 Emergency Tips From FEMA
Here's information from FEMA about using your cellphone as an emergency resource:
- Store useful phone numbers. Make sure the numbers for your emergency contacts are up to date. Store the contact information for your local police, fire departments and utility companies.
- Create a group for your emergency contacts. Some cell phones allow you to create contact groups. This makes it easy to send a single text to a group to let them know your status after an emergency.
- Stay up to date via Twitter without an account. Twitter is an important vehicle for info before, during and after a disaster. Even without an account, you can get Twitter updates. Simply by utilizing your phone's text messaging capability.
- Bookmark useful mobile sites. If your cell phone has Internet access, be mindful of mobile sites formatted to display info within a mobile browser. You can bookmark the National Weather Service. Plus the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and FEMA.
- Backup your battery. Having an extra battery for your phone (or a solar charger) in your emergency kit is important.
Have Your Lifeline Ready
Most importantly, remember to keep your cell phone as powered up as possible. Especially if you're headed out the door and might not be able to power it again soon.
Tips for saving battery life include turning down your screen brightness. It's the single biggest power drain. You can also turn off WiFi and Bluetooth, data roaming, and voice control.
But as FEMA outlined above, it's also important to have a backup plan in place for powering your phone.
Having a phone on hand when you need to call for help can make the difference between life and death.
Keep Your Phone Powered Up
Just ask the residents of Texas and Florida after Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.
People were desperately trying to call emergency responders for help. But phone lines were jammed. Authorities actually told people to stop using social media and told them to just keep calling.
But how are you supposed to keep calling if your power is out and your cellphone is dying? You'd be stranded!
That's why portable, backup power is downright essential in an emergency. Communication is critical to survival, and your phone isn't any help to you if it's dead.
Our top recommendation to keep on hand for this is the Patriot Power Cell.
This breakthrough backup power device fits in your pocket, and powers in the sun. So you'll never have to worry about the internal battery running out.