Mobile apps for safety

Phone security

First Aid

Emergencies

If you know the emergency phone number, and you have a good idea where you are when an emergency occurs, you should call it directly. If, however, you are travelling through foreign countries, or if you are in an unfamiliar area / place when an emergency occurs, it can be useful to have an app on your smartphone to help locate you for emergency services.

  • Echo112 is an app that geolocates you, finds the emergency number for the country you are in, and uses the phone’s GPS to locate you on a map which emergency operators can access online. The app makers claim that it works worldwide, but it is based primarily in Switzerland. It relies on the phone’s GPS and requires the phone operators to access a specified website.

Personal Safety

Personal Safety apps are fairly new and their effectiveness has not been proven or tested. Various apps exist, many of which charge one-off or subscription costs. These apps rely on setting up a list of contacts who can be contacted simultaneously if a person gets into trouble. However, in an immediate crisis, running away or ringing emergency services is likely to be safer than notifying friends and family through an app.

  • PanicGuard – Recommended by the UK Police, developed together with Crime Stoppers, this app turns a smartphone into a personal attack alarm, evidence collection device and an emergency contact tool.
  • Circle of Six – Need help getting home? Need an interruption? Two touches lets a circle of friends know where you are and how they can help.

Twitter

More than 75% of twitter users do so mainly through a mobile device.

Twitter has an emergency alert system, allowing organisations such as the police to send messages during emergencies to users who opt in. When an alert is issued a user will receive a push notification, a text message and/or a message on their timeline with a special bell icon depending on user settings.

Twitter’s own page Using Twitter Alerts gives further information.

If you use twitter you can sign up for alerts from South Wales Police at https://twitter.com/swpolice/alerts or for Gwent Police at
https://twitter.com/gwentpolice/alerts.

To sign up for any other police service first find their twitter username then go to https://twitter.com/xxx/alerts where xxx is the username.
There’s a list of police forces on twitter here.

Apps lists

Several websites and media outlets have published lists of apps that can help you protect yourself, be safe, or save lives. On our page, we tried to only include free apps.

The lists below include paid-for apps. Many of the apps will be US-centric, so it’s always worth looking into each app in detail before downloading it.