MONROE, LA – According to 2018 Pew Research data, 77 percent of Americans currently own a smartphone. Dr. Candace Worsham, a family medicine physician with St. Francis Medical Group, offers five tips for how your device can help save your life:
1.Learn how to activate Emergency SOS. There are many ways to activate your phone’s Emergency SOS feature. For some phones, you can activate the Emergency SOS feature by pressing the side button five times and then sliding the red slider to start the call to 911. Once your call with the dispatcher concludes, it will send a text message to your emergency contacts, notifying them of your current location.
2.Use the Medical ID function on your phone. The Medical ID allows you to store information that your doctor or a physician would need to know, especially in an emergency. You can record previous health ailments and allergies related to specific medications. Having this information preloaded and up to date is important in emergency situations. Emergency responders may need to know your medical history, medicines you’ve been taking, weight, height, blood type and more, and having it in your phone can help them help you.
3.Add and identify emergency contacts. It’s important to assign your emergency contacts in your phone before a dire situation arises, so they are pre-loaded if you ever need to activate Emergency SOS. Different phones have different steps to set up emergency contact information. It usually involves going to your Medical ID settings, where you can add family members or trusted friends’ information.
4.Teach your children to dial 9-1-1. You should teach your child how to dial 9-1-1 on both a landline and your cell phone as soon as they can play with a phone. Explaining to them when it’s appropriate to call such as when an adult can’t wake up, any fire that happens without an adult, etc. Make sure that your child knows to say his or her first and last name. Practice by role-playing different scenarios with an old, disconnected or even toy phone with your child to prepare them in case they ever need to dial 9-1-1.
5.Look for other health and emergency apps. There are many apps that help provide information in critical situations. Some apps can recommend self-treating techniques if no medical aid is available or help you pinpoint local CPR-qualified individuals within a certain radius for cardiac arrest incidents. It’s important to stay up-to-date on the technology available to help in emergency situations.
“Our phones absolutely have the potential to save our lives, especially since we always have them with us,” said Dr. Worsham. “The key is to be smart about how we use our phones by preloading information before an emergency arises and not using them while driving or in a situation where we should be paying attention.”