Personal Safety Apps that Send for Help
GPS-enabled devices have ushered in an era when we expect our smartphones and tablets to not only tell us how to navigate to a vacation spot, but use our current location to suggest restaurants and let us “check-in” to places so our friends can see in real time what we’re doing.
But location-based features aren’t just for fun; they can be used for safety, as well.
If you’re concerned that someone you care about could be in danger, or if you worry about safety yourself, here are a handful of apps that can help.
Unlike other safety apps that alert friends or family who may not be able to help in the event of an emergency, this iPhone app features a silent alarm that, when triggered, dispatches emergency help to your exact location. If you are feeling uneasy and want someone to stay on the phone with you until you arrive safely at your destination, you can also activate StreetSafe’s Walk With Me feature, which connects you with a trained Safety Advisor who will recommend the best course of action and alert the police if your situation escalates or you need immediate help. The StreetSafe service is $20 a month, $45 a quarter or $150 a year and works with iPhones, Android Phones and Windows Phones.
Before using this one you need to complete an online profile that includes your photo and any medical issues you may have. Then when MyForce receives an alert from you, it dispatches the nearest emergency responders and transmits to them your profile information. MyForce also records audio coming from your phone and reports any updates or movement to the authorities. If you accidently send an alert the monitoring team will call you to make sure you’re not in danger and request a safe word. If you can’t provide your safe word, they take it as a sign of trouble and send help. MyForce is available for iPhone, Android or BlackBerry smartphones, and costs $12 per month or $119 a year.
This free app lets users select personal Guardians, the people who will be notified when help is needed. All users’ guardians are alerted with an emergency SOS message that includes the sender’s location and a video recording by your phone, while a direct call is placed to one specified contact. The bSafe app, which works on iPhone and Android smartphones, also has a Follow Me Guardian mode, which invites Guardians to follow you live via a GPS trace as you walk home. You're notified when one of your Guardians accepts your invitation to follow you home. Or, you can use the Follow Me Timer mode, which will automatically send an emergency SOS message to all Guardians if a user doesn’t log out within a specific time period. This latter mode is great for late nights or your daily run—any situation when you don't want to invite people to follow you, but want an emergency message sent if you don't arrive safely. All of your Guardians need to have the bSafe app installed and create a bSafe profile.
Updated on 4/25/2014