June 27, 2012

New first-aid app brings safety tips to phones


I was unsure exactly how to answer because it was not a strictly yes-or-no situation.

I decided to err on the side of caution, clicking “No.”

“Call 911 when a person is unconscious,” the app directed.

Done. But what should I do next?

The next screen gave me a choice of making an “Emergency Call,” or clicking on “Continue.”

Should you decide to make the call, the app automatically loads 911 into your phone’s dialer; the user must hit the call button to send the call.


At this point, my mind turned to the imaginary Tommy.

Had some poor kid sustained actual injuries, I have a feeling I would have made things a lot worse by fiddling with my phone app before simply calling for emergency assistance from the start.

After tapping the “Continue” option, the app said: “You will now be given instructions on how to provide emergency care to someone who is unconscious.”

Upon clicking “Continue” again, a 28-second video loads, with steps and photos of people assisting a victim.

While the app is easy to use and filled with helpful information, maneuvering through menus and identifying symptoms might be confusing in an actual emergency.


The Red Cross says the app was designed to accommodate the growing number of Smartphone users, taking critical first-aid information normally distributed in pamphlets and making it available at any time.

“Everyone should load this onto their Smartphone as an important first step in learning what to do for medical emergencies and in creating a family preparedness plan,” said Red Cross Scientific Advisory Council Chair Dr. David Markenson in a press release.

In addition to the emergency guide, users can access quick care tips, training exercises and other videos covering everything from allergic reactions to warning signs of sudden illnesses.

The app is beneficial for sharing first-aid information and would be very useful if help is not readily available. But it seems it would be important to call 911 first.

And it seems that clicking through an app while administering assistance in a serious emergency could be more of a hindrance than a help.

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