LEE COUNTY, Fla.- A feature that could help save your life may be hidden in your cell phone. It's a medical checklist that can eliminate a lot of guesswork during an emergency. But not all first responders know about it.
It's called Medical ID, and it could save your life in an emergency by providing vital information to first responders.
When the call comes in, first responders are typically rushing into the unknown. In a recent test drill for Bonita Springs EMT's, all this crew knows is their patient is an unconscious woman. So the detective work begins.
And Medical ID gives rescue crews a place to start. Training drills for EMT's now include checking a patient's phone for Medical ID. It's an extra step Bonita Springs EMS workers are now adding to their routine.
"We're training all of our personnel; EMT's, paramedics, and all of our firefighters," says Richard Scott, Bonita Springs Fire Rescue deputy chief.
He says in emergencies, having a Medical ID on your phone could be a matter of life or death. "A lot of the people we get to either can't talk, or there are no family members there," says Scott. "So this is a really quick way to get allergies, past medical history, or any concerns we may have."
Medical ID is tucked away in the iPhone's health app. Once you fill it in, first responders can get to it -- even if your phone is locked -- by clicking the emergency tab.
Harry Castaldo is never without his cell. If there's ever an emergency, his seafood allergy is listed in his Medical ID. He also filled in his weight and blood type. "The medications I 'm currently on."
It's all valuable information...if you know it's there.
But not everyone does. Medical ID wasn't on the radar of the Cape Coral Fire Department, until we called. "No, I was not until currently," said Anthony Demos, Cape Coral Fire Battalion Chief of EMS.
Because the app isn't universally known, Demos says he doesn't require his staff to look for it. But that may soon change. "I think in the future it could serve as a very good tool."
It's a vital tool in emergency medical situations, where every second matters.
If you're not tech-savvy, first responders say you can also carry around piece of paper in your wallet that lists your medical history and emergency contacts.
And for non-iPhone users, we found several similar apps you could use. Depending on which phone you have and which version of Android you're running, you might have an emergency contact feature in your phone's setting. Check there first. It might be under a sub-menu such as My Information. In many cases, the end results is a free form string of text that scrolls across your locked screen.
If not, check out one of these apps below.