An iPhone App That Could Save Your Family’s Lives

I brought you some iPhone apps a couple of weeks ago that were of interest to firefighters, young and old. Today I bring you the first app for which I shelled out the cash. It’s called smart-ICE4Family and it’s $3.99 in the app store. And you need to buy it. Now. Before you even read my post. However, I assume you want to know why so, I suppose, you can read the post first and then download it. Immediately.

ICE stands for In Case of Emergency. If you travel anywhere, even to the grocery store, in any form, on foot or by vehicle or any mode in between, you should have an ICE card, at the very least, somewhere in or on your body or belongings. An ICE card gives the responding paramedics, firefighters or police officers pertinent information about you, your health and who should be contacted. I’ve told you how Ohio actually has a Next-of-Kin Database now easily attachable to your driver’s license. You should, however, also be carrying ICE information with you.

Perhaps you think you are invincible. (You are not.) Perhaps you think you will remember all of your own medications and be able to verbalize them to paramedics even if you are unconscious. Perhaps you can dictate to paramedics each time your children have been hospitalized or their allergies while you are in a state of shock. In fact, even medical professionals can find themselves uncertain of such things when an emergency hits their own lives. This particular story is a very important reminder why this information needs to be easily available. To paraphrase his tips:

Accept that you are human and that accidents happen. Print out ICE cards for all wallets, purses, backpacks and vehicles. Program *ICE numbers into all cell phones. Print out detailed sheets of medications and other health issues to have easily on hand should something occur. If you experience an emergency and your responder is not familiar with the concept of ICE, please pass on the information. Your brief stint as educator may save another life.

And so what does all of this have to do with an iPhone app? smart-ICE4family is an iPhone app that holds your pertinent emergency info. But, it gets better! It’s a multiple profile ICE meaning that you can put in your information and the info of your family members. Designed by an EMS director with over 30 years experience as a fire-medic and emergency room medic, this program has everything that you need for first responders and ER staff to appropriately treat you or your children.

I learned about this app just before my trip to NYC for Swagapalooza. I quickly downloaded it, entered my info and went to sleep. I felt safer knowing that if anything happened, my information was with me. While we do have ICE cards in our wallets, I liked having it on hand in my phone as well. It is now the very first app on my screen. The icon that this app uses is actually the trademarked ICE symbol that is recognized around the world. It’s also bright orange and blue. It’s hard to miss. When I got home, I also entered the information of my children and husband (who were not traveling with me on the aforementioned trip).

The features of the app are pretty nifty.

  • Multiple profiles.
  • Fast 911 access.
  • Alert function: After dialing 911 fromt he app, the phone goes into an alert mode and will sound an audible alert every two minutes. This feature allows EMS personnel to find your phone and medical information should you become incapacitated.
  • Passcode wallpaper: This will allow you to set a custom message on your wallpaper if phone is locked.
  • Stores all of the critical information needed in an emergency situation for up to five people.
  • Dials emergency contacts within the app.

Things that I found especially handy: allergy information, preferred hospital (as we do not prefer the hospital here in city) expressed wishes (bleh) and medical history. The latter of which is very important for people and children with chronic illness. I don’t look like a very sick human being but my kidney disorder means that I can’t be pumped full of ibuprofen without a chance of throwing me into kidney failure. I’d really rather avoid that, mmkay?

It was easy to set up and fill out. And while we have printed ICE cards, I like the features of this app. I like knowing that I’ll be able to give very pertinent information, especially about my children, even if I am not alert.

I encourage all families to, at the very least, carry ICE cards. Make them up now even if you don’t have a fancy icon. Write them and put them in your wallets, purses and vehicles tonight. If you’re an iPhone user, I encourage you to download this app, make it your first icon button and enter the information. Immediately. I don’t like to think about emergencies and being unable to remember things or be awake to give paramedics information. No one likes to think about it. But I’d rather be prepared for such an event. I want our readers to be prepared as well. I want paramedics to know how to treat you, your significant other and your children. (As a side note: the company also offers a single profile version of the app for the single people among us. It downloads for $1.99 as opposed to $3.99.)

If you have all of your ICE information in place, iPhone app or not, please do your friends and family a favor and tweet or share this post. It’s so vitally important that people know about the concept of ICE and how easy it is to manage. I’ve got all of our information in now for our quick trip to Cincinnati tomorrow to see Disney on Ice. To be honest, I’m glad we have it there for our even quicker trips to the library and school. You never know… you just don’t.

You can read more about the app on EMS-Options.

[No compensation was received for this post. I paid for the app myself. I believe in keeping my readers up to date on safety information and technology. I always blog with integrity.]

fire life Techie Talk

3 Free iPhone Apps for Firefighters, Young and Old

You may recall that I bought an iPhone 3GS last month. I’ve been downloading apps (and deleting the ones I don’t like) like a madwoman ever since. Of course, being a FireMom and writing this blog, I had to check to see if there were any apps that included fire trucks or resources for firefighters or their families. I have found three free apps that may be of benefit (or entertainment) to firefighters, young and old. All links will open in the iTunes store in your iTunes program.

1. Fire Trucks by Ernest Properties. Keep your littlest firefighters amused for at least fifteen minutes (while simultaneously turning all heads if you happen to be in public) with this free iPhone app. It’s quite simple to function. Upon loading the app, a picture of a fire truck loads. By pressing the four corners of the photo, a different fire siren sound loads. An air horn and various sirens make it a rather noisy app but fun for little fingers. Pressing anywhere on the photo provides the noisy fun but the corners have their own separate sound. Adult firefighters who have reviewed the app complain that it doesn’t sound like a fire truck or that it needs other pictures instead of just the one. The truth is, if you’re an adult, this app really wasn’t intended to keep you entertained for hours. The name of the app, however, is misleading as with only one picture, the trucks are not plural. All the same, it is a great “we have 15 minutes until we get where we’re going and we need something to occupy the kids but we’ve already played I Spy 2059906 times” app. Plus: sirens! Woo!

2. Fire Truck Lite by EleganSoft Inc. If you like those little plastic puzzles where you move around the pieces to eventually show the intended picture, this app is for you. The easy level is really quite easy. The medium level is quite easy to handle. But when they say hard, they mean hard. The pieces are made to look like wood which is a unique twist on an electronic game. The point of the game is to get the big square piece with the fire truck to the bottom, middle location. To do so you move the other pieces that contain a car, a truck or a bus around and around and around to achieve that goal. When you succeed, the fire truck sprays water (which is also made to look like wood which is kind of… different) and you’re given an encouraging, hero-type message like, “You put out the fire! You’re a hero!” This free app also has a full, paid version ($0.99) but I’m cheap. (Also, you may not be able to see but that picture tells you that I have made 89 moves with 9 hints on a hard puzzle. I’m not too proud to tell you that hard really does mean hard.)

3. Emergency Radio Lite by EdgeRift, Inc. If you’re a fire family, you know what a scanner is. For those of you not attached to fire (or police) service, you might not know that a scanner lets you listen to emergency calls and the communication between various members of the police or fire service. We have one in our living room that allows me to find out where FireDad is on scene. This particular app is a lite version allowing you to listen to six channels. They include: Chicago Fire, Denver Police-Fire-EMS, Hawaii Police, Miami-Dad Fire-Search-Rescue, New Orleans Fire and San Jose Police & Fire. To be fair, the full version of this app was one I almost considered downloading until I learned that my county is not supported. (On any of the available scanner apps, not just this one.) There are some complaints that Denver’s channel has streaming issues but my guess would be that’s more about the host of the channel and not the app itself. My favorite part of the app is that it lists the codes. I now know that 11-26 in Chicago means that they have located an abandoned bicycle. Interesting. (I’m currently sitting here and listening to Chicago and I’m just really amused with myself.) The full version is currently on sale for $0.99. (Sure, cheap, but useless if it doesn’t include your city/county.)

There are some firefighter related games and a few other useful apps (not free) that I have not yet downloaded though I plan to in the near future. I will let you know about them as I get to them. If you have a firefighter related app or know of one that you think I should include on the blog, please leave a comment below. Your opinions on the above reviewed apps would also greatly help those considering downloading one or more!