Press-Republican

Guest Column

June 27, 2012

New first-aid app brings safety tips to phones

PLATTSBURGH — A new Smartphone app from the American Red Cross puts lifesaving information at your fingertips. 

It is designed to answer questions about common first-aid situations and provide users with step-by-step instructions on how to handle emergency circumstances.

HELPFUL FACTS

After downloading the free app, I clicked my way through a wide variety of interesting and helpful facts about everything from what to do if your cat eats a poinsettia to what it means when your hair stands on end during a thunderstorm.

You also have the option of consulting an emergency guide, complete with instructions on how to identify a medical emergency and offer help to someone in need of assistance.

PROMPT QUESTIONS

I was curious to see exactly how much detailed information the app provided and what it would take to maneuver through menus during a medical crisis.

Instead of seeking out an actual emergency, I consulted the guide with a hypothetical situation to test my skills and the app.

In my imaginary scenario, 11-year-old Tommy took a nasty spill from his bike, suffering what appear to be broken bones and severe gashes.

I activated the emergency guide and was immediately prompted to answer a series of questions aiming to identify Tommy’s injuries while waiting for help to arrive.

The first question I was asked was, “Is the person breathing?”

At this point, you can have the option of tapping “Yes” or “No.”

Below the buttons, the app offers description that seems to state the obvious to help determine whether the accident victim is breathing or not:

“Isolated or infrequent gasping in the absence of other breathing or no breathing.”

Tommy was “breathing,” so I quickly tapped the “Yes” option.

The next emergency screen asks, “Is the person conscious?”

In this instance, I decided the boy was breathing but was in and out of consciousness.

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