How your smartphone can help in emergencies
Calling the police or sending a message to a relative are not the only ways of getting help these days. Phonemakers and app developers have found new ways to help users in distress by connecting them to their relatives and police without even unlocking their smartphone. There are apps which can send out realtime location details after specific time intervals to relatives on their own. Then there are the panic buttons which allow users to get help by simple pressing a physical button.
Trusted Contacts can help users in emergency by broadcasting their smartphone’s location to up to 50 friends or relatives who have been listed by the user. If a trusted contact asks for a user’s location and gets no response in 5 minutes, the users location will be automatically shared. The app uses built-in GPS on the smartphone and can track and share location even if the user is offline. Friends and relatives listed as trusted contacts also need the app on their smartphone to see your location.
This recently added feature on Google Maps can keep a relative or friend posted about the whereabouts of a user who is travelling late at night. Relatives can see the location as well as the route taken by the user on Google Maps. One can select any Google contact and give them the right to see the location and route for a set duration or until it is turned off manually. Users can activate this feature in Menu->Share location and follow the instructions.
MUrgency can help users who have been in an accident get immediate help from their nearest hospitals, doctors or paramedics by pressing an SOS button on the app. The app will share your location coordinates with hospitals registered with it. The app also allows users to alert relatives by sending message alerts. The app offers services in all major urban centres such as Delhi NCR, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai and Kolkata.
An initiative by Delhi Police, Himaat can help women in distress by connecting them directly to the police. User needs to register on the Delhi Police website with their phone number and other details to use the app. In case of emergency, an user has to press the SOS alert button on the app and the Delhi police control room will be alerted and the location details of the user will be shared so police can send the nearest patrol car for immediate assistance.
Following the Department of Telecom mandate last year, phonemakers have started incorporating a panic button on all smartphones. Phonemakers such as Intex, Videocon, Gionee, Micromax and Samsung have already started offering the feature in different ways. While some use apps to send out alerts, most of them have tweaked the lower volume button to also serve as a dedicated panic button. User can press the button three times or simply press and hold the button for a while and message alerts along with sender’s location details will be sent to emergency contacts after every ten minutes. Its biggest advantage is that users don’t even have to unlock their smartphones to ask for help.