I may have only lasted two weeks as a boy scout (when I was five), but the boy scout motto, “be prepared,” has stuck with me throughout my life. Now, I can’t say I’ve always been the model of preparedness, but as I’ve gotten older I’ve made an effort (such as keeping track of my belongings) to be as ready as possible if some unforeseen event occurred.
With the advent of the Internet, vasts amount of information is literally at our fingertips; and with devices like the iPhone, that information is accessible anywhere. Recently, the American Red Cross decided to go one step further by releasing First Aid, an app that contains all the information you’d ever need in an emergency. Hit the jump to learn more about how to become better prepared.
Learn First Aid
The first section of First Aid is Learn, which provides a series of topics that will help you learn first aid procedures for each medical emergency. Topics include bleeding, broken bone, burns, heart attack and many more.
If you tap on a first aid topic, the app will transition to a new page that displays a step-by-step list of what actions you should perform if an issue were to occur. Below the list is a Q&A section that answers questions that people frequently ask the American Red Cross, such as whether it’s a good idea to put butter on a burn (it’s not, in case you’re wondering). In addition, most topics include graphics and videos to help better demonstrate proper procedures for handling an emergency (as someone that learns visually, the videos were a great resource for learning).
For some categories, you can take a test to see if you remember everything you learned. Tests can be accessed by tapping the Test Yourself button below the Q&A section (as well as by tapping the Test button in the bottom navigation bar). Each test asks between two and four questions on average, and are pretty simple to pass if you read through the information.
If you miss a question, First Aid will let you know which question(s) you missed and provide the correct answer so you can retake the test if you wish. I recommend retaking and passing every test because you receive a nifty badge, as well as Game Center achievement points.
Prepare for Emergencies
Learning what steps to take during a medical emergency is invaluable, but they’re not the only type of emergencies you may have to deal with. Fires, floods, earthquakes, power outages and tornadoes are just a few non-medical emergencies that you may find yourself in at a moment’s notice. Luckily, First Aid provides information on how best to handle these situations. You can access a list of non-medical emergency topics by tapping the Prepare button in the bottom navigation bar.
When you tap on a topic, the app will transition to a new page that provides three types of information. First, a summary describing the emergency, as well as a few best practices if said emergency occurs. Second, a checklist of what anticipatory steps you should take to prepare for said emergency. Third, some instructions on what to do during and after the emergency. Below these steps, you can quickly jump to any first aid information that relates to the non-medical emergency (e.g. burns you may have received during a fire).
The Learn and Prepare sections of First Aid are great resources that’ll help you be prepared if an emergency occurs, but one of the best resources the app provides is the information it provides during an actual emergency. Say you find yourself in a situation in which someone is having a medical emergency, such as heat stroke. You may have read about what to do in the Learn section, but in the moment your mind goes blank. Luckily, First Aid is designed to provide the exact information you need to deal with the situation.
To access information in case of an emergency, simply tap the off-center Emergency button in the bottom navigation bar, and then tap the category that best matches your situation. Depending on the emergency you’re viewing, a video may be present as a visual aid, but in most cases the list will simply include step-by-step instructions on what actions you should take. Most of the time the instructions will state to call 911, and in an effort to save time a button will be present that allows you to quickly dial 911, instead of having to go to and find your Phone app (interactivity such as this is one of the things that makes First Aid invaluable in emergencies).
This may go without saying, but the American Red Cross states in their disclaimer that First Aid should not be used in lieu of seeking professional medical help. The app is meant to be an educational tool that provides need-to-know information on how best to handle an emergency situation. The American Red Cross makes suggestions throughout the app to continue your education by taking classes and purchasing first aid materials, all of which are good ideas if you’re serious about furthering your education in regards to emergency procedures.
With that said, First Aid is the type of app that belongs on everyone’s iPhone. Not knowing what to do in an emergency is really an awful feeling, which is shame because it’s completely avoidable. What’s really exceptional about the app is that it doesn’t require data connectivity to work, meaning you can access every piece of information, including videos, if you’re somewhere with little or no connection. If you haven’t already done so by this point, you should install First Aid on your phone immediately. After all, it never hurts to be prepared.