10 Jul Turn Your Phone Into A Personal Safety Device
It’s easy to take personal safety for granted when we live in one of the safest places in the world. However, anything can happen whether you’re out hiking, doing the grocery shopping or walking home from work late at night. It’s always better to be prepared for whatever comes your way and your smartphone can help.
Ultimate Civilian and Watch Over Me were both born out of traumatic experiences, with each app’s respective founders seeing an opportunity to prevent dangerous situations or at least to allow you to communicate with the authorities or your loved ones quickly. Both apps aim to turn your smartphone into a personal safety device.
To give you a little peace of mind regarding the safety of yourself and your loved ones check out these apps:
Ultimate Civilian ($4.49)
Created by Australian John Tyson, in conjunction with Maxmoment Interactive, after losing his wife and son in the Queensland floods of 2011, Ultimate Civilian was developed to help the authorities or your loved ones find you. Particularly for the adventurous types, who enjoy going for hikes, boating trips, surf trips, long bike rides or road trips, you’d want to feel reassured that if something were to happen rescuers or family members will be able to find you.
While there are many navigation apps and devices which only track your progress from point A to point B, Ultimate Civilian continually monitors your location and stores that data. This means that family members and emergency services can easily identify your whereabouts even if you are lost out to sea or in the great outdoors, increasing the chance of a successful rescue. The app also features a “panic button” that fires off an SMS or email to nominated recipients with your location data. So, if you’re in a bind, someone will know about it.
You may be thinking, well what happens if your phone dies or you have no reception? While most tracking apps will be rendered ineffective if the phone is out of battery or unable to connect to the network, Ultimate Civilian stores your location data on a secure server, which means that the data is always accessible (of course, only till the 30 day period has elapsed).
The app is also great for improving the safety of children, by enabling parents to keep track of their children’s whereabouts as well as offering children a way to quickly communicate with their parents should they find themselves in trouble.
The app also includes all of the emergency phone numbers for the area you’re currently in. This is not limited to just fire and ambulance, but also services such as tow-away trucks and windscreen repairs.
To further help ensure the safety of its users, Ultimate Civilian provides other features such as a torch, a rescue siren/panic alarm, survival guides, First Aid hints, access to information for flood or disaster emergencies, what to have in your disaster pack and how to create an Emergency Evacuation Plan. To ensure you keep your disaster pack stocked, the app stores and remembers what items you have in your pack and what you still need to buy, with an in-app store for these types of products at discounted prices to come in the near future.
The developers of the app note that because this app uses background service mode for GPS tracking, users should be aware that using the app can dramatically decrease the battery life of your phone.
The Ultimate Civilian app is only available for iOS devices from the App Store.
Watch Over Me (Free)
The app works by the user setting up a task such as walking to the car, going for a run, taking a cab or meeting someone new, and you set a timer as to when you should be finished with that activity. If you fail to check in, the app will not only send an alert out to your emergency contacts via SMS, email or Facebook, but it will also provide your emergency contacts with your most recent location via GPS as well as turn on your iPhone’s camera and audio recording functions to let your contacts know what’s going on.
You can extend the timer if the activity is going to take longer than you initially expected, and you can also cancel the emergency alert.
This app is great for parents or those that find themselves in uneasy situations.
How do you use your mobile phone as a personal safety tool?