Five apps that could save your life
Need to assist someone exposed to nuclear radiation? There’s an app for that.
In a crisis, your mobile phone can be a lifeline in more ways than simply calling 911. Apps developed by government agencies and EMS groups provide everything from preparedness tips to safety alerts.
One app in the works – iRescU – is designed to pinpoint the nearest location of an automated external defibrillator (AED), used to jumpstart the heart of someone in cardiac arrest.
Dr. Nadine Levick, the developer, said she’s surprised there aren’t more mobile programs for emergency situations – unless you count “NYC Condom Finder” launched by the city health department in February.
“You can find a condom, but you can’t save a life,” lamented Levick, of the nonprofit EMS Safety Foundation.
Free emergency apps
The app is still in the testing phase, but Levick plans to pilot its use in New York City. The program will house a database of more than 4,300 AED locations collected with the help of users. The app also features guidance on doing CPR. Levick hopes to roll it out in time for the New York City Marathon in November.
My Meeting Place
Launched in September by the city’s Office of Emergency Management, the Facebook-based app helps users plan ahead in case of emergencies. They select local landmarks, such as a post office or school, that indicate where family and friends should meet if they are separated. More than 2,000 people have uploaded the app, which OEM said it wants to make available on mobile phones this year. The city also has its own official emergency public notfication system, Notify NYC, which sent its 1,000th message this month.
Sponsored by Google, NASA and other groups, the app allows users to send a single “I’m OK” text message, which is then forwarded to a list of cell phones, e-mails and Facebook contacts. Developers say it’s a beneficial app in cases where phone service is sparse or a harried evacuation makes it difficult to reach multiple people.
The app is geared toward first responders who might need to treat someone in a nuclear emergency. The tool, developed by the federal government, is now available on the Android, iPhone and BlackBerry. It includes triage tips and emergency contacts.
The federal agency advises how to prepare before and what to do after a major catastrophe, including terrorist attacks and hurricanes. One app in the works would locate the nearest disaster and relief center. FEMA said it wants to provide alerts to users when they’re in “warning areas” that also give personalized directions to the closest shelters.