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Ten Apps That Could Save Lives

by Phillip Anthony
fact checked by Darci Heikkinen

On July 10, 2008, the App Store was introduced to the world, and the way we consume and interact with technology has never looked the same. Apps became the go-to new format for brands and businesses to reach their audience. The introduction of apps has been the catalyst for all kinds of weird and wonderful, but more importantly, helpful.

There are numerous great innovative apps that change people’s lives for the better, and even some that have the possibility to save lives. These ten apps represent of sampling of the numerous versions that are available—not to mention the ones still in development with better tech and more dynamic features.

Related: 10 Times Smartphones And The Internet Saved Lives

10 ICE Medical Standard

Public Service Anouncement FREE ICE Standard with Smart911 App

ICE stands for In Case of Emergency. This app has been developed to be the industry-leading medical ID for both iOS and Android phones. Medical ID is an app that lets you put your emergency medical contact information on your smart phone’s lock screen image overlay display. So if you are in an accident, first responders, EMS, EMTs, FEMA, and ER staff can find your emergency contact information as soon as they turn on your phone.

They created an easy-to-read color-coded system to allow the emergency responder to gauge how “high-risk” the individual is. Even the healthiest of individuals could benefit from having this app on their phone; you never know when an app like this could get you out of some serious trouble. Doctors can access your allergies, health conditions, and any medication you might regularly take within seconds of picking up your mobile. And, of course, you can decide which personal information is visible on your lock screen to protect your private information.[1]

9 What3Words

What3words – Could This Location App Save Your Life?

In a time of emergency, it is vital to be able to describe exactly where you are. For example, imagine if you were out walking in the wild and found yourself in need of medical assistance, a street address certainly couldn’t help you then. So when needed, you must be able to precisely explain your location with more precision than a typical address.

This is where What3words comes in. This app gives every three-square-meter (9.8-square-foot) square in the world a unique three-word address—all 57 trillion of them. Three words have been randomly generated for each square and will always stay the same, so you can now direct someone to a specific square of the world with just three words.

It was originally designed as a solution for finding more unusual or remote addresses, but now their app covers the whole world with three-meter squares; the applications for this software are virtually endless. They’ve even created an extension for Google Chrome and Mozilla so that you can search a what3words address directly into google maps.[2]

8 Zello PTT Walkie Talkie

How to use Zello and Zello for rescue and relief efforts

Zello is an app that allows users to turn their mobile phones into walkie-talkies or two-way radios, providing they have a network or Wi-Fi connection. The service will even send communications over older 2G networks if nothing else is available. This app offers a way for people around the world to communicate even when they have poor cellular service.

It’s an easily accessible technology that helps emergency responders to communicate and receive alerts without needing the expensive traditional radio hardware. It allows clear and undisrupted communication across multiple teams of first responders.

Also, in the event of a crisis, channel owners can send out loud repetitive Channel Alerts. Alerts send out loud beeps every minute, along with a text message, to subscribers, whether connected or not to the channel. As a result, every day, tens of thousands of first responders use Zello in their operations, and eight billion live messages are sent monthly. This is solid proof that this app is making a seriously positive impact on many people’s lives worldwide.

They are further developing this technology by teaming up with AGIS (Advanced Ground Information Systems) to create LifeRing, an app to increase the efficiency of first responders and military personnel. Zello is clearly at the forefront of push-to-talk communications; it will be interesting to see the growing positive impact it has on the world.[3]

7 Cairn

How the Cairn App Works

Cairn is the ultimate app to keep you safe when you want to go on long walks in the wilderness. It was released in 2015 and has helped many avid explorers enjoy their hikes with that extra peace of mind.

Their slogan “Get home safely from any adventure” highlights the sole purpose of this app. Some of the useful integrations on this app are trail alerts and real-time location tracking. Trail alerts will automatically contact your chosen contacts (friends/ family) if you’re overdue to return. If you’re walking somewhere a little treacherous alone, the real-time tracking could be a life-saver. It allows your contact of choice to be able to see where you are every step of the way.

Within the app, you’re also able to find which areas have cell coverage, so if you need to make a call, you’ll know where to head to. This element is crowdsourced, so every time a user opens this app on a new trail, it increases the amount of information available to the next hiker.[4]

6 Stay Alive

Stay Alive – UK’s 1st Suicide Prevention App

Self-described as a “pocket suicide prevention resource…packed full of useful information and tools to help you stay safe in crisis.” They have created a free-to-use app that offers help and guidance to those that need it. If someone feels like they don’t have anyone to talk to about what they’re going through, Stay Alive changes that.

It offers multiple functions designed to inspire motivation and help individuals feel less overwhelmed. Some of the handy features include a safety plan, a “Lifebox” where you can store photos that are particularly important to you, and, of course, links to national crisis resources.

It was developed by Grassroots Suicide Prevention, a UK-based charity that supports communities in preventing suicide. They teach suicide prevention skills to community members and professionals. And although it may seem a tricky subject, it is incredibly important for charities like this to be creating free, up-to-date services.[5]

5 First Aid by British Red Cross

File:A first aid box.jpg

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

The British Red Cross, the United Kingdom’s body of the worldwide humanitarian network—The International Red Cross—has created a series of apps that are designed to teach everyone the crucial techniques of first-aid. Being able to give first aid immediately can help to reduce a person’s recovery time and make the difference between the patient having a temporary or long-term disability. And encouraging people to learn the basics is certainly a worthy cause.

Their main app covers 19 skills that could help people give aid to themselves or others while going about their day-to-day business. It’s getting some much-needed information into many people’s hands with over 500 thousand downloads on the Google Play store alone.

It teaches users how to deal with incidents such as road traffic accidents and severe cold weather. It provides the information in engaging ways such as videos, interactive quizzes, and step-by-step guides.[6]

4 Share the Meal

WHAT THE TECH? Share the Meal app creates easy way to volunteer

It has been said that one in nine people are hungry or undernourished worldwide. And according to the charity Action Against Hunger, about 2.3 million children die each year due to malnourishment. Share the Meal is an app that combats this serious matter. It was built alongside the United Nations World Food Program with a crowdfunding model.

The introduction of an engaging, easy-to-use app that both educates and enables people to donate received a warm welcome from many organizations. In 2020, it received recognition as one of the “Best Apps” by both Google and Apple. Its mission is to “make fighting hunger accessible to everyone,” and this app does just that. Most people would say they are willing to donate to charities, but maybe less have done so in the past due to the lack of ease around smaller donations. Now, Share The Meal allows its users to donate as little as 80 cents within seconds. It offers pre-set donation suggestions, describing how many meals each amount will provide, with the maximum suggestion being $293 to provide 365 meals to a family or individual.[7]

3 Pulse Point

Pulse Point App Alerts Nearby Citizens To Cardiac Arrest Patients In Need Of Aid

Pulse Point is a technology company whose mission is to use machine learning and automation to transform healthcare by creating platforms that help people in need receive assistance in quicker time frames. They have created an app that allows anyone with CPR training to provide help and assistance to people in their local area suffering from cardiac arrest. The “CPR Needed” alerts have a unique alarm sound and are programmed to override the do not disturb function on mobile phones. It is also a 911-connected app, so it will not only inform citizens in the local area, but it will also inform the relevant emergency services.

Users of the app can also help save lives even before they are in danger. They have created a function that allows anyone to pinpoint AEDs (Automated external defibrillators) anywhere on the map with a short description of the business it’s attached to along with a photo for the context of its location.

App users can now also choose to be notified of other events that may impact them and their families, such as wildland fires, flooding, and utility emergencies. And although it just covers North America currently, they are working on distributing this free service across the world.[8]

2 My Earthquake Alerts

Another totally free app that has been designed with the safety of the world’s population in mind is My Earthquake Alerts. With over a million downloads and 4.5 stars in the Google Play store, this is an easy-to-use app designed specifically to inform users of earthquakes around the world. (12.)

It has been estimated that around 20,000 earthquakes happen every year globally, with 16 expected to be major earthquakes (at a magnitude of 7.0 to 8.0). Therefore, an app that informs people when they happen will undoubtedly have the ability to save lives. Users can choose which regions to receive notifications about, so they can have peace of mind about themselves and their loved ones, no matter where they are in the world. Available on both Android and iOS devices, it’s certainly an app that could have a positive impact on anyone who lives in (or visits) a region likely to have earthquakes.[9]

1 Snug Safety

Snug Safe Explained

This is an app that has been designed as a daily check-in service for people that live alone, specifically targeted at seniors and the vulnerable. It provides a way for families to make sure their loved ones are keeping safe and well. Whether you need that peace of mind while on holiday away from your parents or grandparents or want a long-term solution to ensure that they are staying safe while living alone, this app can provide just that.

According to their website, they have already had two million check-ins. They have been featured in Forbes and AARP: The Magazine, so it’s clearly making a positive impact in the world of elderly care. The app requires the individual to check in at least once a day, indicating that they are safe to their loved ones. Previous to the check-in deadline, there are alerts to provide reminders. However, if the deadline passes without a check-in, it will send their emergency contacts a text message saying they missed the check-in. Also, the paid version of the app offers to call each of your contacts in order. And if they have still not checked in and the dispatcher does not have confirmation that one of their emergency contacts will check on them, they will request an official wellness check to their cell phone’s last known location.[10]

fact checked by Darci Heikkinen