Smartphones are very powerful devices and, because of that power, they can perform very useful functions that go far beyond providing entertainment or basic communication. With the right apps, a smartphone can be used as a device that can provide emergency information in situations when it needs to be accessed immediately.
There are three features that can come into play in very meaningful ways in an emergency that are included on most smartphones. Taking a look at all three, their applications in emergencies should be obvious.
Most smartphones have GPS features built into them. Most of the time, you’ll see these used as navigation devices when people need to find an address, when they need to find their way around a wilderness trail and so forth. GPS devices are excellent for these purposes.
With the right apps, however, you can give selected people access to the GPS on your phone. They can’t use your GPS to navigate, obviously, but they can use your GPS signal to find you if they need to. This is a great feature for parents. Of course, there is the aspect of this type of a feature that allows parents to keep tabs on their children; such as to make certain that they are staying in the yard or for some other purpose. The other great feature about this, however, is it would allow, for example, the parent of a teenager to locate where their teenager is if that child happened to have car problems, needed a ride home because the ride they had arranged had become intoxicated or something else. They can eliminate a lot of confusion and make it easier to find somebody in a bad situation.
If you spend a lot of time surfing the Internet, you might’ve seen some videos that depict bullying going on and other crimes. Sometimes, these videos provide nothing other than voyeuristic entertainment, but they do have a real and important potential to them.
One of the hardest things for police to do is to track down people who are guilty of a crime and to get a positive identification of a person. Because just about everybody is walking around these days with a video camera and a still camera in their pocket, this has become much easier. People have already used the cameras on their cell phone to produce evidence that can be used to stop bad situations – such as capturing a child being bullied – and even situations where they have managed to identify criminals. They can also be used for lesser crimes, getting a snapshot or a video of the license plate of a hit and run driver, for instance.
Medical information can also be stored on cell phones. There are apps that make it easy to do this. Family members can share this information with one another, which may come in extremely handy during an emergency.
While the members of an immediate family might all know each other’s medical conditions, allergies and so forth, extended family members may not have this information on hand. By providing it to them, it’s possible to create a network of emergency contacts – rather than just having one or two – that all know about medical conditions that apply to a given family member, what kind of medications they should never be given and which kinds they should be given and so forth.
Smartphones offer a way of storing, accessing and recording information. As you can see, this has some very powerful implications for people and those implications go far beyond sharing videos on social networking sites or finding an address in a city with which an individual is unfamiliar.
Ben Blanchard is the Programming Services Manager for Acadian, the creator of the Family Medical Manager app. The Family Medical Manager app is the definitive medical record app for families and individuals.