Adding New S.O.S. App On Your Smartphone Can Provide Timely Information to Save Lives

Dorian Martin Health Guide
  • I just purchased a brand smartphone and am enjoying playing with the variety of new apps that are available. But there’s one app that I just found that I think is really, really important to add to your phone. The American Red Cross, Dr. Mehmet Oz, and the medical website Sharecare have created “S.O.S’ by the American Red Cross.” This free app provides instructions about real-time emergency care as well as an expansive resource guide for emergency care information. This app currently is only available for smart phones that run the Android operating system.


    According to the Red Cross, “Once activated, app users are guided through a victim assessment and receive step-by-step video narration and follow-along demonstrations by Dr. Oz. More than 30 protocols for the most common emergency care situations were adapted for the Android app. 3-D animations, provided by Visible Productions, Inc., are included for the more complex protocols, specifically Hands-Only CPR and Choking along with an audio and visual counter for real-time CPR compressions.” In addition to the emergency protocols and resource guide, the S.O.S. app features 9-1-1 dialing that auto-launches a map with location information, while on the call with the emergency dispatcher.

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    The S.O.S. app’s resource guide is very impressive, covering more than 50 common emergency care situations with easy to understand instructions. The app provides tips about what to do before giving emergency care and walks you through how to check an injured or ill person. Additional topics included in the app are:

    • Bleeding and wounds, such as open or puncture wounds, burns, a nose or mouth injury, a rib fracture.
    • Injuries to bones, head, neck, spine, joints, and muscles.
    • Common childhood injuries, such as abdominal pain, ear infection, fever, and rashes.
    • Asthma
    • Severe allergic reactions that cause anaphylactic shock that can be caused by a variety of allergens, including bee and insect venom, pollen, and animal dander.

    “The beginning of summer, with its outdoor activities and extra travel, is the perfect time to launch this app,” said Dr. David Markenson, chair of the American Red Cross Scientific Advisory Council. “This collaboration has produced a lifesaving tool for those who have never taken Red Cross training and an ‘onsite coach’ for those who have. This new app is an excellent complement to the knowledge and skills learned in Red Cross courses,” Markenson added.


    “People need to see themselves as first responders to emergency situations in their home and workplace,” said Dr. Oz. “Knowing CPR will save the lives of your loved ones, colleagues and even random strangers. This collaboration meets people where they are at – on their smartphones – and uses the best modern teaching tools to provide CPR education. As a heart surgeon, I see the American Red Cross and Sharecare’s efforts as game changing and invaluable. The life you save will probably be someone you love.”


  • I can see this app being really helpful in lots of situations. For instance, my friends and I have been out geocaching, which gives us the potential to be in close contact with poison ivy, spiders, bees, wasps, and snakes as we traipse to find the hidden treasure. I also feel better having this app on hand with my 80-plus year old father as we deal with the tremendous heat.  And it’s good to have this app on your smartphone while cycling either on roadways or off-road in case you or someone else takes a tumble. The app also can help you be prepared in case of someone drowning at the pool or beach. And it can help you make the correct decisions if you or a loved one is hurt sliding into home on the baseball diamond.

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Published On: June 17, 2011