First aid at your fingertips
Emergency situations can happen anywhere and at any time. It’s therefore important that first-aid knowledge is always on hand. Knowing what to do when someone is choking can make the difference between life and death. THATO TINTE explores South African first-aid apps
The beauty of technology in our world today is that we have a wealth of information at our fingertips.
Realising the need for basic first-aid skills in the prevention of unnecessary loss of life, a few local organisations have launched first-aid mobile apps suitable for the South African landscape.
One of the first of these was launched by Netcare 911 in 2013. The app, called Netcare Assist, can be downloaded free of charge on Apple, Android and Blackberry phones.
Although Netcare Assist is a multi-functional emergency app that allows users to manage their healthcare needs holistically, it also features first-aid assistance functionality, which, according to the company, “provides information on how to handle a range of incidences, from choking to heart attacks”.
This function allows users to listen to clips, or read the information provided, which is accompanied by illustrations on actions to be taken. The app also provides a step-by-step guide on procedures to follow in different emergency situations.
During the xenophobic attacks in the country last year, the South African Red Cross Society launched its first-aid app in a bid to assist those under attack, who may not have had access to medical facilities.
The Red Cross Society’s first aid app: First Aid on the Go, can be downloaded on the Apple app store and free of charge from the Google Play store.
The app provides assistance on how to handle common emergencies such as choking, treating spider and snake bites, along with other basic first-aid functions such as how to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Users are required to register on the app for ease of access to the content and functions.
In a similar vein, the Red Cross Society’s first-aid app is tailored specifically for the South African audience and context. It makes use of videos, animations and interactive quizzes, along with simple step-by-step instructions on everyday first-aid scenarios.
In addition, the app is fully integrated with 10177 (toll-free) ambulance services that can be called at any time. It also features safety tips that will assist in preparing for emergencies such as extreme weather conditions and disasters.
Pre-loaded content allows for instant access to all safety information at all times _ even if there is no cell reception, internet connection, data, or airtime loaded.
The St John Ambulance first-aid app also provides invaluable information and is free for download on Android, Blackberry and iPhone mobile devices. It can also be downloaded from the St John Ambulance website.
This app also gives illustrated guides, protocols to be followed and voice instructions on basic knowledge of first aid in common emergency procedures.
A range of first-aid scenarios provided by the app include: CPR; diabetic emergencies; choking and allergic reactions.
To prevent death in emergency situations, remaining prepared and knowledgeable is key! These pioneering apps not only assist in dangerous home, work or natural-disaster situations, but can also be used to brush up on basic first-aid skills, as content is continuously updated.
However, even though technology has helped us with valuable life-saving advice on hand, we must remember that these apps are not a substitute for proper first-aid training.