Can mobile devices help you stay safe under many varied circumstances? The answer is a resounding “absolutely.” Your smartphone or tablet won’t take the place of a muscle-bound bodyguard, nor do they mean you should voluntarily put yourself in harm’s way. However, they will help you remain safe and secure, thanks to a number of apps and alert systems. Check them out and feel better walking down a dark alley (not that you should):
bSafe is a free personal safety app designed for both Android and iOS. Features including the ability to notify friends and family of your current whereabouts, letting them know when you’ve arrived at your destination and sending exact GPS location information while en route. The latter makes it easy for your emergency contacts to determine where you are at all times. Another bSafe feature is programming faux phone calls so it looks like you’re talking to someone while around shady characters. Should you require immediate assistance, the app activates an alarm that also triggers your phone’s camera to start recording the incident.
SafeTrek is the free app to use when you find yourself in a less-than-safe situation. It alerts the police so they can help you as soon as possible. The app is designed to prevent accidental alerts via the ‘Safe’ button that launches the app when you press it. Once you stop pressing, you’ll be asked to enter a four-digit code that tells the police where you are and to make haste to your location. You therefore don’t have to worry about notifying the police because you sat on your phone while at brunch.
The Disaster Alert app was created by Pacific Disaster Center and remains one of its World Disaster Alerts. This app provides access to several hazard-monitoring organizations, and sends alerts should a severe storm or other natural disaster make its way to your town or city. Its DisasterAWARE platform offers real-time access to current data on natural disasters, both near your location and around the globe, and provides important warnings should you need to get out of town. Disaster Alert has some 1.5 billion users worldwide so far.
These and similar apps make outstanding practical use of mobile technology, though again it’s necessary to emphasize that such options are not substitutes for 911 emergency calls. It’s still important to contact the emergency number when possible and if the situation calls for it, such as if a crime is taking place or immediate help is required to save your life or someone else’s. That said, emergency and safety apps are a great help as they allow for discretion, which is often required in a dangerous situation. Use one or more safety apps as part of your overall safety plan and remember to avoid anything you suspect as dangerous. It’s better to be safe than very, very sorry.