With the exploding popularity of smartphones over the last several years, we’ve all heard our fair share of “there’s an app for that!” punchlines.
Innovative app inventors have come up with everything from Is It Dark Outside for lazy, shut-in gamers who don’t feel like walking to a window and opening the blinds, Milk the Cow, a cow-milking game, to RunPee, which advises which points in the movie you’re watching are good ones to run out to the bathroom. Once you’ve completely overdone it and all the apps on your phone are stressing you out, there’s even an app called Nothing, which does…nothing. Once you open it, it will show a blank screen on your phone that will keep all the notifications away so you can de-clutter your mind.
But, did you know that when it comes to the evolving pandemic crisis that…you guessed it:
There’s an app for that.
With the advent of amazing new technology, that smartphone in your pocket is also a life-saving device. Here’s a list of eight of the best life-saving emergency apps that you never knew you needed:
The first one on the scene, StopCovid is mainly for use in France, where it was developed. StopCovid is a contact-tracing app, which the government hopes will prevent a resurgence of Covid-19 as lockdown measures ease. The trick of course will be getting people to use it.
Available for iOS on the App Store, where it currently has a 3.8-star rating.
On Google Play it has 3.25 stars.
According to MIT Technology Review, Opinions differ on whether these tracking apps are just a tech daydream or—if done correctly—a potentially useful supplement to manual tracing, in which human workers interview people who’ve been diagnosed with COVID-19 and then track down their recent contacts. But the reality is that these services are already rolling out, and many more are likely to come in the next few months.
Apple has an exclusive app with 4.3 stars that has “up-to-date information from trusted sources about the coronavirus disease that is impacting people across the world. It has a screening tool so you can find out what you should do now for yourself or for a loved one. And it gives you access to resources you may need to feel supported and informed.”
Blood Donor American Red Cross
The American Red Cross Blood Donor App puts the power to save lives in the palm of your hand. Donating blood, platelets, and AB Plasma is easier than ever. Find nearby Red Cross blood drives, schedule appointments, follow your blood’s journey from donation through delivery (when possible), and create or join a lifesaving team and track its impact on a national leaderboard.
Available for Android on Google Play with a 3.9-star rating and for iOS smartphones in the App Store with 3.6 stars.
First Aid – American Red Cross
Accidents and emergencies happen. The official American Red Cross First Aid app could potentially save a life.
How you may ask?
It puts expert advice for everyday emergencies in your hand. Get the app and be prepared for what life brings. With videos, interactive quizzes, and simple step-by-step advice, it’s never been easier to know first aid. This is what some reviewers are saying:
One of “8 New Apps You Don’t Want To Miss” (6/16/2012) – Mashable
“First Aid By American Red Cross is a fix for what ails you.” – Appolicious
“One of the 50 Best Apps for Parents of 2012” – Babble.com
One of “10 apps that can save your life during a natural disaster” – ComplexTech
The 4.5-star rating on the Google Play Store and 4.5 stars on the App Store for iOS is pretty impressive, too.
Medical ID Record
Your Medical ID Record is a useful reference in an emergency or when visiting a healthcare professional. It could save your life one day!
Enter Personal Data, Medical Conditions, Notes, Allergies & Reactions, Medications, and Emergency Contacts in this vital app. Attach photos from the camera or photo library. Attach photos or PDFs by importing them from iCloud Drive, Dropbox, etc. or dragging and dropping them from other iPad apps. Scan documents to create PDF attachments. Markup photo and PDF attachments to annotate, highlight, or redact information.
A Watch app gives access to your Medical ID without having to unlock your phone. A Widget is also available and your iPhone/iPad can be configured to make this accessible from the lock screen.
Back up your Medical ID to iCloud, Dropbox, etc. for safekeeping or to copy it between devices.
Where can you get this app?
It is available at the moment exclusively on the App Store for iOS.
Android has a similar app called:
MyID – Medical ID Profile
With this app, you can quickly manage your MyID Profiles. Also, turn your iPhone into a life-saving tool in an emergency. The MyID app embeds your emergency information into a custom QR code image for your phone’s lock screen wallpaper.
+ The QR code can be scanned by first responders to view your online profile.
+ Store info about emergency contacts, vitals, allergies, medications, blood type, organ donor, and more. The custom QR code can be overlaid over any photo of your choice and set as the wallpaper on your iPhone’s lock screen.
+ The app also syncs with your MyID bracelet, sticker, or other MyID products to provide emergency info when you don’t have your phone with you.
Available in the Google Play Store with a 4.5-star rating.
As domesticated as many of us are, survival skills are not exactly something we can pull out of our back pocket.
We have a smartphone. In that case, we’re covered.
This app offers techniques a person may use in a dangerous situation (e.g. natural disasters) to save themselves or others (see also bushcraft). Generally speaking, these techniques are meant to provide the basic necessities for human life: water, food, shelter, habitat, and the need to think straight in a crisis, to signal for help, to navigate safely, to avoid unpleasant interactions with animals and plants, and for first aid.
This app has earned an impressive 4.7-star rating in the App Store for iOS users.
On the Google Play Store, it has a slightly lower rating of 4 stars.
Yes, YouTube is there for you when you want to see classics like Charlie the Unicorn, about a unicorn who gets knocked out and has his kidney stolen.
BUT, did you also know that YouTube is a potential lifesaver? Why?
YouTube has thousands of survival tutorials, on things like tying knots, building fire without a lighter, building shelter, preparing food, living off of the land, etc.
Investing in that smartphone was a great idea to stay connected, and now that you know about these emergency apps, take a moment to install them so you will have all the resources you may need if you find yourself in an emergency. Given all that has gone on in the world in the last couple of years, it’s safe to say that “better safe than sorry,” is probably a better motto than “YOLO.”