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Saving Your Life: There’s an App for That

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Let’s face it, most iPhone apps probably won’t even get used more than once or twice, and even then, you won’t be using them for anything particularly important. But one app came in very handy for one very lucky iPhone owner. The phone and the app belonged to an aid worker trapped after the tragic January 12 earthquake in Haiti.

Max Woolley, a father working in the area with a humanitarian aid group prior to the disaster, was buried under rubble for about 60 hours after the earthquake struck. During the quake, Woolley received fairly serious injuries to both his head and his leg. Luckily, he also had an app that dealt specifically with how to treat and respond to such injuries.

The app was Pocket First Aid & CPR, created by the American Heart Association in tandem with Jive Media. It allows users to browse a variety of first aid techniques and practices, provides emergency numbers, stores medical info such as blood type, insurance providers and emergency contacts, and instructs users on what to do in various emergency situations. Techniques are demonstrated using a combination of text instructions and videos of the procedures being done correctly. Probably a better bet than depending on that vaguely-remembered first aid course you took five months ago.

Woolley used the app to look up the correct method of treating his wounds. He learned to bandage his leg with his shirt and then tie-off the wound with his belt to slow the bleeding. For his head injury, the app told him not to fall asleep in case of concussion, so he set his iPhone’s alarm to go off every 20 minutes. Of course, the iPhone’s battery wasn’t up to the challenge of being almost perpetually in use for 60 hours, but Woolley says then when he did have to turn it off to conserve what little battery remained, his body was used to the cycle and wouldn’t drift off to sleep for longer than a few minutes at a time.

The app is a $3.99 purchase, but Woolley clearly thinks the money was well spent. There are other, free first aid applications available, but it was the American Heart Association connection that gave Woolley the confidence to follow the advice contained within to the letter. According to CNN, he said his phone “was like a high-tech version of a Swiss Army knife that enabled me to treat my own injuries, track time, stay awake and stay alive.”

4 Responses to “Saving Your Life: There’s an App for That”

    • Funny, that’s exactly what I thought of first as well. My battery has drained after a day and in such a situation I sure wouldn’t remember to switch everything off. Happy for him though, as he survived.