Using your cell phone in an emergency situation

By Affinity Cellular - 2019-08-22

911 Emergency Situations

Cell phones serve many important purposes in our everyday lives. Communicating with others, storing information, and setting daily reminders are just some of the ways we use our phones on a daily basis. However, we don’t always think about how to use our phones in circumstances that don’t occur as frequently, such as emergency situations. It’s not fun to think about, but it’s important to be prepared for dangerous situations. Whether you get in an accident, have a medical emergency, experience a natural disaster, or something else, you can utilize your phone to quickly get the help that you need.

ICE: In Case of Emergency
One way to stay prepared in case of emergency is to set up "In Case of Emergency" contacts, or "ICE" contacts, on your phone. ICE allows medical personnel or bystanders with access to your phone to easily find your emergency contacts and alert them to your situation. This is especially beneficial in medical emergencies when you may not be able to notify your loved ones on your own. Depending on what type of phone you have, you may be able to go to the settings and find a sub-menu for personal information and emergency contacts. If not, you can use a smartphone to download the ICE: In Case of Emergency app that lets you input important emergency info and contacts.

You can also put important medical information in your phone that may be helpful to first responders or others at the scene. To do this, either go to the ICE app or the preinstalled health app on your phone. Then click on the tab that says “Medical ID” and fill in your medical information. This feature also lets you add in emergency contacts that are accessible even when your phone is locked. 

Emergency Services
Another method to stay prepared in emergency situations is to put all important emergency service numbers into your phone. This includes the police department, fire department, poison control, doctors, hospitals, and any other numbers that may be useful to you in an emergency situation. Having these numbers already in your phone will save you critical time that can drastically help in a difficult situation. You can also set up short cuts to make it easier to dial these numbers. To do this on an Android go to the place where you dial phone numbers, click on menu and speed dial and insert the emergency number and speed dial location. On an iPhone, add the emergency contact(s) to your favorites list by going into the contact and clicking add to favorites. For more tips and instructions on how to set emergency numbers to your speed dial, reference our Mobile Rolodex blog or your user's manual.

Other Apps
Many apps provide great resources for staying safe in difficult situations. The Medical ID section of the health app and the ICE app, both mentioned above, are key apps to start out with. Some apps contact emergency numbers if you have not checked in with the app at a certain time.

The Bugle app, for iPhone only, allows you to set a schedule of where you will be at a certain time, and if you don’t check in that you made it there at that time it will automatically call the emergency contacts that you set up in the app. Bugle - iPhone App That Might Save Your Life details how to use the app.

If you don’t have an iPhone, Kitestring is a similar app that will text you during times you have scheduled to be out at night or on a trip and will notify friends or family if you don’t respond. SirenGPS, which is available on both iOS and Android operating systems, is another great emergency app that will immediately send an emergency alert to the police, fire department, or ambulance with the press of a button. If you are in an area that is prone to natural disasters, apps like Disaster Alert or Natural Disaster Monitor will keep you updated on severe weather patterns and potential threats. 

Other Services to Consider
One service you may want to look into is AAA roadside assistance. For a monthly membership fee, you get 24/7 road assistance including help with flat tires, stalled engines, vehicle lock outs, towing, fuel delivery, mechanical issues, and more. This is a great service for anyone who drives frequently and may encounter troubles on the road. There is a AAA mobile app, or you can enter their phone number into your contacts for easy access. Plus, AAA members receive special pricing at Affinity!

Using Voice Commands
In some emergency situations, it may be difficult to reach or easily access your phone. In these cases, voice commands are crucial. For people with iPhones, SIRI is an easy way to utilize voice commands. Simply say “Siri, please call….” and say a contact name or emergency phone number. A great alternative for non-iPhone users is the app Cortana. It functions essentially the same as Siri, but is compatible with Android and Windows devices. 

Location Services
For situations where it is important for emergency responders to find your location, having location services accessible on your phone is important. To turn on your location services, go to the settings on your phone, find your personal device information, go to location services, and check to see if it is turned on. You can also share your location with specific family members and friends that you trust. To do this, go to their contact and click on share my location. Make sure that you trust the people you share your location with, as that information can get misused if it is in the wrong hands. 

There are many ways that your phone can protect you in emergency situations and get you the help you need in a difficult time. Make sure you are taking preventative action and setting up these important services, because they could be the thing that saves you in an unpredicted emergency.