Driving along the 417 Highway you see a car several hundred meters ahead of you swerve suddenly and tumble violently into the ditch. You immediately recognize that this is an emergency and determine that it is safe for you to stop and offer help. You move well off the road and pull out your cell phone to alert EMS/911. Help is on the way. But what next?
In the last several years cell phones have quickly integrated into the daily lives of the majority of Canadians. While they are a great tool to have during an emergency, allowing folks to alert EMS/911 very quickly, they do have limitations.
While coverage has improved, there are still many regions where it isn’t very reliable or calls frequently are dropped. This is why it’s so important to let the dispatch know your number and location. Land lines are usually much more dependable and they have the added bonus of being able to trace the call to an exact geographic location, which is not usually the case with cell phones (yet).
Cell phones can also give folks a false sense of safety. Just having a cell phone doesn’t actually make you any safer. If you are involved in an accident the cell phone can’t deal with cuts and scrapes, perform CPR or recognize when someone is having a diabetic emergency (though the Red Cross App does a great job of giving you information and steps to follow). You still need to act.
So keep your cell phone handy (like there was any chance of most of you giving them up anyway….) but remember your training, practice and action are what will truly deal with emergency situations.