I decided to test out the phone application that the American Red Cross launched today.
The app, known as “First Aid by American Red Cross,” provides the user with information about various emergencies.
The app takes critical first aid information normally stored on bookshelves and in pamphlets and places it at the fingertips of tens of millions of individuals – which will save lives. The Red Cross app includes trusted Red Cross disaster preparedness information for a number of common situations.
The app is the first in a series the American Red Cross plans to do. The First Aid app is free and available for iPhone and Android devices. Being that I have an Android phone, I downloaded it and started playing around with it.
Here are a few screenshots to give you an idea of what it looks like:
The moment you open the app, a message comes up, pointing to the “Emergency” tab. The message says, “Tap here if you find yourself in an emergency situation.” Not a bad feature, being that if someone is in an emergency, his or her thoughts might be jumbled.
My biggest question, though — will people remember to use the app in an emergency situation? It’s not that I think the app is a bad idea. I just wonder if people will remember when, for example, they find someone in a diabetic emergency that they have an app that will tell them how to handle that.
I like the idea of having organized and well-researched first aid information on my phone, though. And I like that the app makes it easy to call 911 from its emergency advice section.
For example, let’s say someone is possibly having a heart attack. You open the app, tap the “Emergency” tab and click “Heart attack.” Here’s what you’ll find:
Step 1: “The person may have persistent, vice-like chest pain, or isolated unexplained discomfort in arms, neck, jaw, back or stomach.”
Step 2: Call 911 immediately or get someone else to do it.
Beneath Step 2, there’s a button that says “Call 911.” Once you click that, the app will switch your phone to its calling mode with 911 already dialed. You then press the call button to make the call.
This feature seems important because, again, when you’re in an emergency situation, you’re probably stressed and need all the help you can get in thinking clearly.
I was in a car accident with three other vehicles a few months ago. All of us got out of our cars and were confused and overwhelmed. It was hot. We were in the middle of traffic, and none of us were veterans of multi-car collisions.
One of the people involved in the accident was having chest pains. It would have been helpful to have this type of medical information so readily available.
Yes, I had (and have) access to the Internet through my phone, and I could have looked up information about chest pain. But as anyone who has sought medical help via the Internet knows, the amount of information can be overwhelming.
Having this type of information readily available will likely be helpful to people who use this app. It’s concise and, as best I can tell, accurate. This app is not a replacement for medical training, but it is still a good resource to have. You can learn about American Red Cross first aid or register for a course at redcross.org/takeaclass.