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Is Your Heroine in Trouble? Emergency Phone Apps




My Friend Heather and I were heading home after a book signing for

our Virginia Is for Mysteries anthology and what do you think a nerd girl (me) and a geek girl (Heather) - who both write suspense/crime - would end up talking about? Turns out we were trying to save our heroines' lives with a cell phone.

First - that phone better be charged, or she will need a way to charge it.

* Power cords (car or wall socket)

* Solar power charger
* hand crank charger


Second - Does she have reception? No? She can try the following:

* Keep the cell phone charged (at least 3 bars)

* She can try standing outside of the building.

* Is your heroine geeky? She may know to use UMA and if she knows about and can use UMA then she

   might have the advantage over the predator:


What is "UMA"?
Unlicensed Mobile Access is a technology that allows a UMA capable mobile phone to seamlessly switch back and forth between mobile phone networks and local wireless networks. WiFi and Bluetooth are commonly used for the local wireless part of the system. Simply possessing a UMA capable phone does not mean that a subscriber can make use of UMA services since the system requires back-end support from the carrier. UMA is particularly useful in remote areas where mobile phone coverage is poor, as well as inside of buildings where the network signal might not be able to penetrate building walls. In the US, T-Mobile was the first carrier to start offering UMA services. UMA has been officially ratified by the 3GPP and has been renamed GAN, or Generic Access Network, though most often the technology is still referred to by the UMA name. Quote link

* If your heroine has become aware of a problem of low - say one bar- signal, she may fix the problem with a cell phone signal booster. Your bad guy knows how remote that house is and that his cell doesn't work in the area. So when he cuts the land lines, he's sure that his victim is now without resources for calling 911. Ha! Fooled him.

Video Quick Study (3:48)


* Maybe your heroine's job - or just her inner tech-lovin'-geeky-self just preferred having a satellite phone.
  They now come in handheld like a smart phone. With this technology - it won't matter if the cell phones 
  are down or if she's been cast out in the middle of no where.

* If your heroine has enough cell service and battery for one very short call to let people know she was
   able to swim herself out of the tsunami, who should she call? HERSELF. She should call her messages   
   and change her outgoing message to reflect her status. That way as her friends and family make panicked
   calls to make sure she is okay - they all find out that she has indeed put her swim classes to good use
   and is now drying out under a palm tree.


All right. Let's say that your heroine has her smart phone, it is fully charged, it has excellent signal, and she needs help. What apps could she have loaded up to save her life?


Let's start with some basics:


* Air horn – There are several free apps for

                      iPhone and Android that let you

                     download a  noisemaker. You

                     may need it to draw

                     attention to something in an 

* Flashlight - This app uses the cameras flash
                     to provide light in an emergency

* Compass - if your heroine knows the general

                    direction of help (the road, river, town)

* A camera/video can help

                   ` to document a crime  

                   ` send information to a helper ex. a doctor so that clear instructions can be given

                   ` help someone locate their position

* ICE app Link to store 3.99$ tells Emergency responders whom to contact, medical conditions etc.

* The Red Cross has first aid apps and pet first aid apps - they will walk you through the medical emergency

                     while you're waiting for the first responders.

Beyond the Basics

* Knot Guide

* Survival Guide - includes

   psychological survival and we

   know that this is KEY. One can do

   everything  wrong but if the desire

   to survive is strong enough, our 

   heroine can still stay alive.

* SAS Survival Guide - especially

   helpful if your heroine has some

   basic bushcraft/survival/prepper

   skills be it from Girl Scouts or

   Military or just growing up playing

   in the mud.

* Wild Edibles - plants. Esp

   good if your heroine can't imagine 

   trapping/killing/cooking wild food.

 *Wilderness Survival - I particularly

   like this one because your heroine
   can choose the terrain: desert, snow,
   coast, forest, sea... And get advice
   for food, shelter, water & fire in her

   particular circumstance.

* Chemical Safety Data Sheet - This free

   application displays the International Chemical

   Safety cards. It provides danger warnings and

   first aid information. This is a great resource

   for writers if you want to know the facts about

   a chemical substance.


Remember, in a disaster EVERYONE is trying to use their cell phone thereby overpowering the cell phone tower capabilities. If your heroine is not using satellite technology, she should send texts.