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5 Ways a Mobile Phone can save your life
Other than simply calling the Emergency Services, your mobile phone can offer more help than might think. Make sure you understand how they work, which web applications you should have and which apps could help save a life.
Keep your mobile phone turned on.
Don’t turn your phone off, even with a low battery you will have several hours of standby time.
Turning off your mobile phone stops the Emergency Services from contacting you, should they need to. It also means your phone cannot be ‘found’ if you need to be located.
Let’s be clear, while we are talking about locating someone via their mobile phone…
Hollywood would have us believe that we can instantly be monitored and traced. Locating a mobile phone is not done routinely by the Emergency Services. Just because you have called the Emergency Services does not mean they have your exact location.
Most Emergency Service telephone exchanges can triangulate between the nearest Masts and the mobile phone from which you are calling can be identified. However, there are less Masts in rural and remote areas. This means your location may be with a margin of several hundred meters accuracy. A caller can only be located after a request from the Police when there is sufficient need such as a ‘Missing Person’.
However, there’s more than one App for that…just search for Apps such as “Find my Phone” or “Find my Friends“. Register your phone and set the GPS to stay ON.
Tips to save battery life
If your battery is running low, or you know you will not be able to charge your battery for a while. There are some things you can do to drastically extend your battery life:
- Turn down the brightness:
The backlit display is such a drain it uses less power to make a short telephone call.
- Turn off vibrate: Making the phone vibrate requires far more energy than making it ring.
- Disable WiFi, Bluetooth: Even with the phone asleep, these functions keep draining power in the background.
- Turn off Data Roaming: Some Apps keep working even when the phone is asleep, just to make regular contact to base every now and again.
- Turn off Voice Control.
- Check your battery.
Calling 999 can only be done when there is enough signal strength. Even when you have barely any signal you may notice “SOS Only” your emergency call will go through at minimal signal strength.
When you have no signal, not even a 999/112 call will work, but a text might. Sending a text requires less signal strength. The phone will keep tying to send the text for a short period meaning there is greater chance of the message getting through if you are moving or in an area of variable reception.
EmergencySMS is a simple and innovative system that was designed to aid people who are deaf or have a hearing impairment but is finding favour as an insurance policy for people who head into rural or remote areas.
Another benefit to being able to Text to the Emergency Services is when you have enough signal strength but
- background noise prevents you from hearing (high wind etc.) or
- you may not want to verbally communicate (in a hostile situation, for example).
“ICE” your phone
Back in the day we would “ICE” our Nokia 5110. We were told to add a contact under ICE “In Case of Emergency” so that should anyone find your phone they can contact your next of kin in case of emergency.
Smartphones brought an end to that with their screenlock preventing anyone from accessing our contacts. However, the latest iPhone OS features an in-build Medical ID page tucked away on the Emergency Call screen.
In the bottom left of the lockscreen is the link to the Emergency page – on this page we can make 999, 911 or 112 calls. If activated the owner can add Medical ID which is also linked to on the bottom left. This page will reveal the owners name, age, medical information and emergency contacts which can be accessed without requiring the PIN to unlock the phone.
Emergency? There’s an App for that.
The rise of the Smart Phone and free market for Apps has provided a range of Apps designed to get you out of trouble, based largely on GPS and First Aid information. Don’t forget that GPS can pinpoint your exact location which you can then give to the Emergency Services.
Turn your phone into a Satellite communicator.
The Gold Standard for remote communication is the Satellite Phones, such as Iridium or Imnarsat. Whilst these are now much more affordable than 10 years ago and easily commercially available, other products and services such as SPOT Connect pair with your phone to send texts, access GPS information and send SOS messages via a satellite network
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