Emergency smartphone apps for people with a disability

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Main Page | Accessibility Toolkit | Emergency smartphone apps for people with a disability

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Contributor Info
Reference Groups Accessibility

The Accessibility Reference Group will be managing the development of content for this section and will be a point of contact for questions or help.

Disability Symbols. Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons [1]



This section is part of the Emergency 2.0 Wiki Accessibility Toolkit developed to empower people with a disability to use social media for disaster preparedness, response and recovery. This toolkit was developed in response to the fact that not all people with a disability are able to access life saving messages delivered through social media due to the accessibility challenges that the tools currently pose.

These apps are provided to help people with a disability to prepare for, respond to and recover from emergencies. As more apps are developed we will add them. If you know of other apps, please add them here.

Please note that social media should be used in addition to SMS messages, radio, TV, internet, newspapers and online for emergency information.

Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)

Autism Help App for iPhone

This free app by the Autism Society of Minnesota assists individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and other disabilities to communicate and regulate in emergency situations. Using the book: The Incredible 5-Point Scale TM by authors Kari Dunn Buron and Mitzi Curtis, AAPC Publishing, this app helps individuals act, react and interact quickly in emergency situations. With a touch of a screen information is provided and can help facilitate interactions for a “safe” outcome for both the individual and 1st responder. [2]

Deaf and Hearing Impaired

Engage App for iPhone, Android and Blackberry (US only)
This free app by E-View provides emergency warning alerts for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community anywhere in the US. If you are in the path of a disaster, your phone will light up and start flashing and vibrating with emergency warnings. Information is provided by the National Weather Service. This app is more than an emergency app, Engage is a wireless community for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, enabling users to connect with each other and local events. It features content for the Deaf; in order to engage the Deaf. [3]

ESMS for iPhone for deaf, hard of hearing and speech-impaired people (UK, Global)
The ESMS application has been configured to compile text messages that can be sent to the emergency services via the UK service emergencySMS. emergencySMS is a “service that lets deaf, hard of hearing and speech-impaired people in the UK send an SMS text message to the UK 999 service where it will be passed to the police, ambulance, fire rescue, or coastguard.” Please visit their website for more information about their service http://www.emergencysms.org.uk/

You must be registered at http://www.emergencysms.org.uk/ to use their service.

You only need to enter your address the once which will speed up the process when you need to send an Emergency SMS. Once your address is saved in the application all you need to do to send an ESMS is select the service you require (Police, Ambulance, Fire Department or Coastguard), enter some detail of what the problem is, then press Send. The in-app SMS screen will be displayed with the phone number 999 already entered. All you need to do now is press Send.[4]

If the service is available in your country, all you need to do is go into the application settings and change the emergency number from 999 to the emergency number in your country that accepts Emergency SMS.

SaveME 999 for deaf, hard of hearing and speech-impaired people (Malaysia) SaveME 999, for individuals with hearing and speech-impairment, is the latest enhancement to the Malaysian Emergency Response Services 999 (MERS 999).

The SaveME 999 application utilises the Geographical Positioning System (GPS) in smart phones to identify the location of the user. When the application is activated, the location of the users is identified through GPS and it will be transmitted to the MERS 999 Response Centre (MERS 999 RC).

SaveME 999 can be downloaded for free of charge from the MERS 999 portal at www.999.gov.my Upon installation of the application in the smart phone, SaveME 999 is readily available for any type of emergency situation which requires the aid from any of the five (5) emergency agencies namely Polis DiRaja Malaysia (PDRM), Jabatan Bomba dan Penyelamat Malaysia (JBPM), Kementerian Kesihatan Malaysia (KKM), Jabatan Pertahanan Awam Malaysia (JPAM) and Agensi Penguatkuasaan Maritim Malaysia (APMM).

PwD users can activate the application by simply pressing the SaveME 999 icon on the smart phone. The sender’s details such as name, telephone number, type of emergency and location of the sender will be transmitted automatically to the MERS 999 Response Centre. The emergency agencies will receive all the crucial information simultaneously to enable them to respond immediately.

The SaveME 999 application works on smart phones with the following Operating System (OS)- Android (version 2.2 and higher), iOS (version 5 and higher), Blackberry (version 6 and 7) and Windows Phone (version 7 and 8). A data plan is required in order to activate SaveME 999. There is no registration fee or monthly subscription for usage of this application. Alternatively, SaveME 999 also can be activated via a WiFi.

Paraplegic & Quadriplegic disabilities

SEAT Safety & Emergency Safety Tool (Australia)

This free iPhone app developed by the Paraplegic & Quadriplegic Association of NSW (Australia) aims to guide people with physical disabilities, such as a spinal cord injury, as well as carers, to be prepared for an emergency situation to ensure they prepare, plan, protect and take action to evacuate when necessary.

The app offers a range of plans and tools including the opportunity to create plans and store your details in case of an emergency situation on your app device.

Developed in association with Australian emergency services.[5]

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