Wildfires, tornadoes, floods, intruders: 4 ways your phone can save you in an emergency Your phone could very well save your life during an emergency.

Your phone is an important and potentially life-saving device that you most likely have with you at all times.

Our phones are the center of our social lives, but They can also help save lives In case of natural calamity or other emergency. Should you wind up stranded on the side of the road, trapped inside your house Or encounter an intruder that makes it impossible to dial 911, a potentially life-saving device with an Android phone or iPhone in your hand.

In 2019, an asthma attack saved a young man’s life and dialed 911 from his Android phone. Despite not being able to speak to the operator, his location was sent to the call center and help reached on time. In 2017, 4-year-old child saved his mother’s life Simply by asking Siri to call for help. And phone calls to order pizza can help victims of domestic violence to alert the police.

These extreme examples underscore the role that phone can play in preventing loss of life when the situation gets out of control. Now that wildfire season and hurricane season are here, it’s even more important prepare for the unexpected. Police departments and first responders also realize that our phones are an important tool during emergency situations.

We spoke to the Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office in Colorado for advice and suggestions that a phone could literally be your lifeline.

Emergency Preparedness: 3 Tips for Recovering Important Documents After a Natural Disaster

natural disasters

Wildfires, floods, earthquakes and hurricanes can devastate buildings and vital utilities in a matter of minutes. The damage can last for days and weeks, taking down the electrical grid and cell towers in the process.

Whether it’s an unexpected event or one you just have time to prepare for, here are some tips for getting help:

  • send text messages Instead of trying to make a phone call: Between damage to cell towers and power lines, and networks being strained as first responders focus on one area, getting a phone call to go is going to be hit or miss. However, text messages require far less network resources and have a better chance of getting through.
  • Apps and Services for Natural Disasters: There is an app to help you with just about any natural disaster, from monitoring storms to reuniting you with friends and family members.
  • SOS Apps: The Apple App Store and Google Play Store have a wide range of options that use your phone’s camera flash signal to send an SOS in Morse code, such as the free Flashlight More Utility for iPhone and Super-Utility for Android. Bright LED Flashlight.

Hurricanes can take out power grids and cell towers in a matter of seconds.

trapped in the woods

To preserve your phone’s battery as much as possible, disable apps and services that don’t help, like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. When there’s no cellular coverage, Airplane Mode stops your phone from constantly searching for a signal, saving precious battery.

GPS works offline to find you

  • Importantly, you can use your phone’s GPS functionality even when it’s on airplane mode.
  • If you’re planning a hike, apps like GAIA GPS allow you to download an offline map Get information about the area you’ll be in, and then use your phone’s GPS to locate yourself. I tested the app a . done on iphone xs max and Pixel 3 XL And sometimes it took me 30 seconds or so to find it, but eventually it worked fine without cellular coverage.
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In the wild, be very careful.

Find out facts about edible plants

Unless you know a lot about plants, you may not know what is safe to eat if you have dire nutritional needs. You have a few options:

  • Download the Wikipedia app and save the Poisonous Plants wiki for offline viewing. This is not the best solution, but the list contains photos and brief descriptions of plants that can cause harm.
  • on android phone, google lens Can help identify unknown plants if you’re in an area with wireless reception, but beware of toxic lookalike — the lens is not a certified botanical device and should not be relied upon. We are especially careful against eating wild mushrooms or berries.
  • However, an app like Lens can be helpful for general information, such as what part of a common plant is digestible – and internal links lead to more information. Note that Google Lens can drain your battery.
  • download Regionally Specific App, for example “Colorado Hiking and Plants,” to provide more specific information about local plants.

Texting 911 is an option to keep in mind.

break-in or active shooter

When you find out that someone has broken into your home or there is an active shooter nearby, the first thing you need to do is hide and turn off all sounds on your phone. Dim its light or switch to dark mode. Android users can quickly mute their phones in the quick-settings panel, and iPhone users can use the mute switch.

Additionally, go to your phone’s Settings app and disable all vibration, including keyboard and touch vibrations – vibrations may be audible, especially if the phone is resting on a surface.

Rely on text messaging to alert anyone of what’s happening outside. Ready to help you prepare for an active shooter situation.

Depending on where you live, texting 911 may be an additional option. The FCC maintains an up-to-date spreadsheet of the cities that support Text-to-911. The list is updated once a month. I suggest you search the spreadsheet (Cmd+F on a Mac, or Control+F on a PC) to find the city or county you’re visiting to see if they text-to-911 support.

If you try to use text-to-911 and it isn’t supported in your area, you’ll get a message back telling you that someone hasn’t received your message and needs to call. If it is unsafe to do so, text trusted and responsive contacts so they can call on your behalf.


Your phone’s voice assistant can call for help even if your phone is on the other side of the room.

When You Can’t Physically Call For Help

  • iPhone users can say, “Hey, Siri, call 911,” while Android users should be able to say, “OK, Google, call 911.”
  • make sure you have hey siri enabled on your iPhone by going to Adjustment > sir I > listen for hey siri. If you use Android, long-press the Home button to bring up the Google Assistant and say, “set up voice match
  • If you are at home and you have Amazon Echo Along with the pass echo connect, which allows your Echo to make phone calls for you, you can use Alexa to call 911.
  • One apple watch series 4 or the new device lets you Set up built-in fall detection When it detects a fall and the wearer is unresponsive it will ask for help.

Share your location only with those you trust.

Other ways to get ready: Shared space, Emergency contacts, Battery packs

  • Consider sharing your location with trusted emergency contacts. For iPhone, use the built-in find my app. On Android, use this Google Maps location-sharing feature. Third-party Glympse app will do the same.
  • Set up emergency contacts and medical information. On iPhone, use the Health app. On an Android phone, consider adding your name or medical details as a contact, or download an SOS emergency app. On the Pixel 4, the built-in . use personal safety app.
  • If you are lost, emergency services can use nearby cellular towers to triangulate your location, so a portable battery pack or power bank EASY TO CHARGE YOUR PHONE – Store it in your backpack, car or other gear. your phone will last longer when you Turn off features that drain your battery.

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