All of the methods your telephone can save your life in an emergency



Your telephone is an important, probably life-saving device you’ve with you always.

Angela Lang/CNET

It could actually occur in a break up second. One minute, every thing’s nice after which a mistaken flip, an sudden storm, or a loud noise within the subsequent room may put you in a harmful scenario. Whether or not you are stranded on the facet of the street in a blizzard, trapped in your house because of a hurricane and subsequent flooding or in a scenario the place you may’t dial 911, you’ve an necessary, probably life-saving device in your pocket: your telephone.

It’s miles too straightforward to take our telephones with no consideration as instruments of leisure and communication, however everybody from police departments to first responders notice our telephones are a significant device throughout emergency conditions.

Earlier this 12 months, a younger man’s life was saved after he started having an bronchial asthma assault and dialed 911 from his Android telephone. Regardless of not having the ability to talk with the operator, his location was despatched to the decision middle and assist arrived in time. In 2017, a 4-year-old saved his mother’s life simply by asking Siri to name for assist.

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These excessive examples underscore the function that telephones can play in stopping lack of life when conditions spin uncontrolled. It is good to know how a couple of settings, apps and different instruments may probably assist. As at all times, preparation and schooling are the primary steps.

We talked to the Pueblo County Sheriff’s Workplace (PCSO) in Colorado for recommendation and recommendations on how our telephones are oftentimes a very powerful device we have now in an emergency. It may, fairly actually, be your lifeline.

Be ready

It is not possible to account for each scenario or predicament you would possibly end up in, however you may take some steps to be ready for no matter life throws your approach. Listed here are some common suggestions that apply to just about each kind of emergency scenario.

Have exterior battery packs helpful

On the very least, have a transportable battery pack available to lengthen your telephone’s battery life. If you happen to’re tenting and know you are going to be away from an influence supply for an prolonged period of time, it could make sense to take a couple of battery pack with you. Relying on the battery pack, it is best to be capable of absolutely cost your telephone three to 4 occasions.


Moveable battery packs will lengthen your telephone’s battery life, and that might make all of the distinction.


There are many inexpensive packs for Android and iPhone that slot in a pocket or backpack and weigh lower than a pound every. An important level the PCSO drove dwelling after we talked to them is that protecting your telephone charged and powered on is vital.

Emergency companies can use close by mobile towers to triangulate your location, however that is not doable in case your telephone runs out of juice and turns off. Preserve a transportable battery pack in your automobile’s glove field or in your backpack (they weigh round three-quarters of a pound) always.

Bear in mind that scorching environments might scale back the battery pack’s life span, so you may need to periodically examine to ensure they’re in good situation and absolutely charged.

Or in the event you dwell in an space that steadily has pure disasters, take into account a extra strong energy station. Moveable energy stations are roughly the dimensions of a small speaker and could be stored underneath a cupboard or on a desk in your house.


Share your location with solely those that you fully belief.

Jason Cipriani/CNET

Preserve the station plugged in and at all times charged. If the facility goes out, you may have a tool that may cost your telephone, or if want be, energy a mini fridge or medical gadget for a couple of hours till assist arrives, e.g. to maintain insulin or different necessary medicines chilly.

Anker’s PowerHouse line ($300) and Jackery’s HLS 290 ($350) each have capacities three to 4 occasions that of a smaller moveable pack, and can absolutely recharge your telephone as much as 12 occasions or run small home equipment as much as 4 hours. Your telephone will last more if you flip off options that drain your battery.

Share your location with trusted buddies now

Must you get misplaced, fall unconscious or go lacking, the power for family and friends members to seek out you with none interplay in your half is significant. Apple and Google each supply companies that enable solely those that you fully belief to examine in in your whereabouts.

If you happen to use an iPhone, arrange the Discover My Buddies app. The app permits permitted buddies or members of the family to observe your location. If you happen to do not need to grant entry to fixed location monitoring, you may at all times grant non permanent permission, however needless to say in some conditions chances are you’ll not have time, or the power, to ship out non permanent requests.

If you happen to use Android, Google Maps has a location-sharing function that may present your present location, and even embrace your telephone’s present battery stage with contacts of your selecting. Third celebration monitoring apps, corresponding to Glympse, do the identical.


Storms can take out electrical grids and cell towers in just some seconds.

Ricky Arnold/NASA

Arrange emergency contacts and medical data

All telephones include some form of emergency contact or medical ID function built-in, and emergency responders are educated to have a look at an individual’s telephone to view emergency contact info and any necessary medical points they could have — even when your telephone is locked.

On iPhone, arrange the Medical ID function by opening the Well being app and deciding on the Medical ID tab adopted by Edit and activate Present When Locked. Enter your whole info, in addition to who must be contacted, after which faucet Performed. A Medical ID button will show in your iPhone’s lock display that may enable first responders to entry all of your info.

On Android, the method will fluctuate relying on the model of telephone you are utilizing, however typically, it is best to be capable of save your emergency particulars by opening the settings app, viewing consumer settings, then deciding on Emergency Data. Enter your medical data, in addition to any emergency contacts.

There might be an “Emergency” button on the underside of your lock display that may show your well being info and emergency contacts.


Planning a hike or tenting journey in the midst of nowhere? Your telephone can nonetheless enable you discover your approach.

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Ideas for particular conditions

With a supply of backup energy, a method for somebody to seek out you, and a approach for emergency responders to get you correct assist, let’s take a better take a look at particular conditions.

Pure disasters

Tornadoes, flooding, earthquakes and hurricanes can devastate buildings and important utilities in just some minutes. The injury can final for days and weeks, taking down electrical grids and cell towers within the course of.

Whether or not it is an sudden occasion or one you’ve got had time to arrange for, listed here are some ideas to make sure you get assist:

  • Ship textual content messages as a substitute of attempting to position telephone calls. Between injury to cell towers and energy traces, and the pressure that might be placed on the community as first responders concentrate on an space, getting a telephone name by way of goes to be hit and miss. Textual content messages, nonetheless, require far fewer community sources and have a greater probability of going by way of.
  • We now have a roundup of apps and companies for pure disasters, from hurricane monitoring to reuniting you with family and friends members, there’s an app that will help you with nearly any pure catastrophe.
  • The App Retailer and Play Retailer every have a variety of choices for SOS apps that may use your telephone’s digital camera flash sign to ship an SOS in Morse Code. You should utilize these apps if search events are close by at evening and also you need to get their consideration, just like the free Flashlight & Extra Utility for iPhone and Tremendous-Vibrant LED Flashlight for Android.

Your iPhone has an SOS mode.

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Stranded within the wilderness?

Getting misplaced or stranded within the wilderness on a deliberate mountaineering journey or because of a storm is a really scary thought.

Certainly, the truth that our telephones monitor and report our each motion has led to privateness issues, and rightfully so, however relying on the scenario you end up in, your telephone’s capacity to find you may very properly save your life. Extra importantly, you may nonetheless use your telephone’s GPS performance even when it is in airplane mode.

If you happen to’re planning a hike, set up an app corresponding to GAIA GPS that lets you obtain a map of the realm you may be in, after which use your telephone’s GPS to find you. I’ve examined the app on an iPhone XS Max and Pixel three XL and at occasions it took 30 seconds or so to find me, however in the end GPS labored simply nice whereas in airplane mode.

Until you realize quite a bit about vegetation, odds are you are not going to know what’s fit for human consumption in the event you’re in dire want of vitamin. You could have a couple of choices:

  • Obtain the Wikipedia app and save the toxic vegetation Wiki for offline viewing. It isn’t the most effective answer, however the record has images and a quick description of the plant that might trigger hurt.
  • On Android telephones, Google Lens may help determine unknown vegetation in the event you’re in an space with wi-fi reception. Remember the fact that many vegetation look alike, and have probably toxic lookalikes — Lens will not be a licensed botany device and shouldn’t be relied upon. We particularly warning consuming wild mushrooms or berries. Nonetheless, it may be useful for common info — for instance, which a part of a standard plant is digestible — and inside hyperlinks result in extra info. Word that Google Lens can drain your battery.
  • Search your telephone’s respective app retailer for extra particular apps. For instance, “Colorado mountaineering and vegetation” will return apps that embrace very particular details about that area.

Keep in mind to preserve your telephone’s battery as a lot as doable. Begin by disabling all apps and companies that will not discover you assist. Utilizing airplane mode in an space the place you don’t have any mobile protection will forestall your telephone from continuously trying to find sign and utilizing treasured battery reserves.


Your telephone’s voice assistant can name for assist, even when your telephone is on the opposite facet of the room.

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Break-in or energetic shooter

The very first thing that you must do after you notice somebody has damaged into your home or there’s an energetic shooter close by, is to cover and switch off all sounds in your telephone. Android customers can shortly mute their telephone within the fast settings panel, and iPhone customers can use the mute swap.

Moreover, go into your telephone’s settings app and disable all vibration, together with keyboard and contact vibration — vibration could be audible, particularly if the telephone hits a floor. As soon as that is executed, depend on textual content messaging to alert somebody on the skin what is going on on. has extra options that will help you put together for an energetic shooter scenario.

Relying on the place you reside, a textual content to 911 could also be a further choice. The FCC retains an up-to-date spreadsheet of cities that help textual content to 911. The record is up to date as soon as a month. If you happen to try to make use of textual content to 911 and it is not supported in your space, you’ll obtain a message again letting you realize nobody obtained your message and that you must place a name. If it is unsafe to take action, textual content trusted and responsive contacts to allow them to place a name in your behalf.


If you cannot transfer, name out for assist.

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Voice assistants may help, too

If you happen to get damage whereas engaged on a house venture, for instance, otherwise you reduce your self, fall or in any other case end up in want of assist, take a deep breath and do not forget that your telephone possible has a built-in voice assistant that may name 911 for you. iPhone customers have to say, “Hey Siri, name 911” whereas Android customers ought to be capable of say, “OK Google, name 911.”

Be sure to have Hey Siri enabled in your iPhone by going to Settings > Siri > Hear for Hey Siri. If you happen to use Android, long-press on the house button to carry up Google Assistant and say “Setup Voice Match.”

If you happen to’re dwelling and have an Amazon Echo close by, the Alexa assistant may even name for assist when you have an Echo Join, which permits your Echo to make telephone requires you, together with to 911.

After all, when you have an Apple Watch Collection 4, it has built-in fall detection that may name for assist when it detects a fall and you might be unresponsive – so long as you’ve it arrange.

Hopefully, you by no means have to make use of any of the above recommendation, a minimum of in an emergency scenario. However in the event you do, attempt to stay calm and keep in mind that you’ve a really highly effective gadget in your pocket that may enable you get out of horrible conditions in the event you use it proper.


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