Technology for Emergencies

Food for thought: are you sharing your location?

My work at the Culver City Senior Center fills my heart with joy and pride every week. Over the last 3.5 years I have had the great privilege of being able to volunteer at this local center and teach seniors how to use their computers, tablets, and smartphones.

One of the things that I always teach my classes is to consider sharing their location on their devices with partners, kids, and/or friends. Location sharing provides a safety net in case of an emergency. Whether it is an unexpected health issue, going on a blind date, or traveling long distances, it allows your loved ones to know where you are at any given point.

Tracking can be done through iCloud, or through messaging apps such as iMessage, Viber, and Find My Friends. There are multiple sharing settings to choose from, including length of time to track (an hour, a day or indefinitely), a specific device to track, and one-way tracking (so you can follow someone without having them follow you back).

While some people find sharing your location to be a little too “big brother,” I believe this is an extremely valuable use of technology. It is especially important for those who live alone or have health concerns.

I experienced the benefit of this first hand when my husband was in a major automobile accident last year. He was able to telephone me to say he was in an accident, it was bad, he thought he was ok, and then hung up! I was able to use the location sharing to find him and watch where he was taken in the ambulance.

I was also recently reminded of this important feature when a student came into class and said, “thanks to you, my kids found me in the ambulance when I had a heart attack.” This is the type of feedback that leaves me humbled and inspired about the work I do. Think about how this might work for you or your family. Illness or accidents can strike at any time. Sharing your location is not something you will think about in an emergency, but should be something that is already in use.

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