Emergencies can be frightening. Whether its a fall, car accident, medical emergency, or even something as simple as being lost and alone, these situations are very trying.

Thankfully, we have a tool to help us out our cell phones!

According to the FCC, approximately70% of 911 calls are placed by wireless phones. Its not all that surprising, considering we usually have these devices with us wherever we go.

And thank goodness we do. Cell phones can be great tools in emergencies, especially for seniors. Apart from the traditional methods, like placing a 911 call, there are several features that can help you when those normal methods fail.

Take a look at the following scenarios and see how your cell phone can come in handy.

If Youre Stranded Without Service

Being stranded is bad enough, but being stranded with little to no cell phone service can make the situation much worse. If you cant get a call out to family or friends, dont panic! A text message may have a better chance of reaching your recipient.

Since it takes more bandwidth to transmit a call, you may have trouble dialing out with a low signal. So, try texting instead! Unfortunately, you most likely will not be able to text 911. Only certain areas in the United States (and certain providers) allow this. However, calling 911 is a different story.

Thanks to the FCC, network providers must transmit an emergency call (911) regardless of whether you use their service or not. This means if your provider doesnt have coverage in that area, your phone will show that it has no service. But, another provider may offer coverage there and will transmit your 911 call for you. So, definitely give the call a try.

You can also reach 911 with a cell phone that is not associated with a provider. This means anold phone can be a great emergency device, especially if youre unable to reach your primary phone. As long as it has battery power and can reach a signal, the phone can connect to 911. However, keep in mind this means your call cannot be returned because there isnt a number associated with it. So, if the call gets disconnected, you need to be the one to call back.

If Youre Lost

Getting lost can be frightening and, depending on your location, even dangerous. However, if you have your cell phone on you, you have a great tool!

Apart from GPS apps and call and text features, you could be able to give your location even if you dont have service. How?

By keeping your phone on, even if you cant get a call or text through (including to 911).

It might seem counter intuitive, but keeping your device activated even when you dont have service can help emergency personnel find you. Before your phone sends out the call, it makes contact with the closest tower: a concept called adigital handshake.

Your phone leaves a data trail that is stored with your service provider and indicates the last time you attempted to place a calleven if the call didnt go through. This can help emergency personnel pinpoint your location even if you cant get a call out. It can also let them know to keep trying to get to you! However, this can only work if emergency personnel know your service provider so be sure to share this information with any emergency contacts and include it in your emergency kit.

Keep in mind that battery conservation is essential during emergency situations. Oftentimes, you wont have the opportunity (or the ability) to charge your phone. Repeatedly turning your device off and on actually uses a significant amount of battery power, which gives you another reason to refrain from doing this between attempted calls. To save battery power, reduce the backlight on your phone, turn off any extra features like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and any running applications, and keep the phone in a cool place.

If You Have a Medical Emergency

A medical emergency can be direwhether its a fall, or something more severe. Its important to get the right info to the right people as soon as possible. Your cell phone can certainly come in handy here. While your phone enables you to call emergency personnel, it allows helps communicate important information when you cant.


Well for starters, your phone can contact emergency personnel for you. Medical alert systems like 5Star now provide apps that go directly on your phone, instead of requiring you to carry medical alert devices, while other apps like TrackerAssist are designed help anyone from kids to seniors. These apps can contact emergency services, send your location, and even send SOS texts to family and friends.

Your phone can also give responders your emergency contacts information (also know was your ICE contact), as well as your medical information by using various apps. If you are taking certain medications, have specific allergies, or have a lengthy medical history, its imperative that EMTs knows this before giving you medical attention. With several of these apps, your medical information is displayed on your wallpaper. So, if you lock your phone with a passcode, EMTs can still get this vital information.

The Bottom Line

Theres no doubt about it: emergency situations are stressful and scary for all involved. But with the proper preparedness (and a cell phone!), emergencies can be a little easier to handle.

Sometimes, emergency situations are the only times seniors use their phones. If youre not crazy about everyday cell phone use, but are looking for a simple device to help you out in emergencies, consider buying apay as you go phone. You shouldnt have to pay an arm and a leg for a device you rarely use so why sign a contract? With apay as you go plan, youre only paying for the minutes, texts, and data that you actually use. No contracts, no hidden fees, and no strings attached.

Do you have more tips for using your cell phone in emergencies? Keep everyone safe by sharing them on ourFacebook!