Unless you’ve gone through first responder training, you probably have no idea what to do when confronted with a situation in which someone needs first aid. Sure, you can bandage a cut, but can you splint a broken limb? Do you know what to do if someone has sustained a serious burn? Could you save someone’s life with CPR?
These apps will help when you’re in an emergency situation.
To properly apply first aid in an emergency situation, you should complete a training course. These courses are offered through many organizations, including Red Cross training and certification programs, American Heart Association courses, local health clubs, and community education classes. Being properly certified is important, as incorrectly performing first aid might end up doing more harm than it does good.
Once again: Incorrectly performing CPR could be very dangerous. We strongly recommend you leave this to someone who has completed the required courses.
That being said, the apps listed here will be of use whether you’ve had formal training or not. They’re all published by reputable organizations that have a wealth of first aid knowledge, so you can be confident that the instructions you receive are well-vetted and up-to-date with current practices.
One final note: because some of these apps are country-specific, the number to dial for emergency services may differ. Some say 911, 999 or 000 and one says 112 (for emergencies within any EU country). If you can download a version specific to your country, that would be ideal. If not, just remember that you’ll need to dial your local emergency services number if needed.
American Heart Association Pocket First Aid & CPR
The AHA is a widely recognized authority on first aid and healthcare, and that reputation should give you enough confidence to place your trust in this app (it was also included in our list of great Android apps for emergencies).
The homescreen is laid out really nicely: there’s a big button at the top labelled “Respond Now!” that gets quickly to emergency instructions for a variety of common injuries, including allergic reactions, burns, choking, and poisoning.Each section gives you instructions on how to deal with the situation, including pictures, and tells you when to call 911.
If you’re not in an emergency situation, you can use the other options on the homescreen, which will help you educate yourself about what to do if you ever need to perform first aid. There’s a section on how to perform CPR and use an automatic external defibrillator (AED) on adults, children, and infants; a section on first aid basics (including a useful sample first aid kit list) and plenty of information pertaining to specific types of emergencies, each with an introduction, symptoms and what to do.
The AHA Pocket First Aid & CPR app is $1.99, and you can download it for iOS and Android.
Red Cross First Aid App
A couple years ago, we called this app “the first aid app everyone should own,” and it still stands true. Along the bottom of the homescreen are five different sections: Learn, Prepare, Emergency, Test, and Hospitals. Each section does exactly what it implies; teaches you about first aid, helps you prepare for emergencies, tells you how to react to emergencies, tests your first aid knowledge, and helps you find nearby hospitals.
The Prepare section includes videos to accompany the step-by-step instructions, as well as Q & As and related sections, all of which will give you a more complete picture of how to deal with emergency situations. The Test section is a good way to keep your first aid knowledge up to date and make sure that you have the necessary skills to help someone who needs first aid.
The Red Cross first aid app is available in both American (iOS, Android) and British (iOS, Android, BlackBerry) versions. There’s also a baby and child first aid app available from the British Red Cross (iOS, Android).
St. John Ambulance / St. John Cymru First Aid
As a provider of first aid courses, St. John Ambulance is a trusted resource for first aid information, and they have a number of different apps that can help you provide the proper care in an emergency situation. It’s not organized quite as intuitively as the apps listed above, but the Major Emergency section makes it pretty easy to find what you’re looking for in an emergency, and the other sections will help you prepare for injuries and other sorts of problems.
With a few illustrations in each section and the ability to have the instructions read out loud to you by tapping the speaker icon in the top right corner, the app makes it pretty easy to get the information you need quickly. The Assessing the Situation section in each emergency will help you get an idea of how to get a handle on what’s going on before taking any action.
The St. John Cymru app is very similar to the St. John Ambulance app, though all of the emergency situations are listed in a single place, and there’s a short first aid quiz that you can take. You can also use the app in both English and Welsh.
If you’re looking for an app that can serve as an all-in-one medical resource, WebMD is a good bet. Although it doesn’t include videos or pictures for the first aid items, the sheer number of emergency situations that are included in the first aid section earn it a spot on this list.
From broken fingers and concussions to lice and corneal ulcers, you’ll have an instant resource for helping get an injured person out of danger. It also gives you an idea of what the doctor will be doing when you get there, which can alleviate some nervousness.
You can scroll through the long alphabetical list of first aid topics, but because there are so many, it’s a good idea to use the search bar located near the top of the app. If you’re likely to deal with certain types of situations, you can save them to your favorite searches as well, creating a quick go-to reference for the injuries you might have to deal with.
There’s no excuse for letting someone sustain serious injury (or worse, death) just because you’re not ready to administer some first aid. Having one of these apps on your phone and familiarizing yourself with how to use it — as well as that vital basic first aid — could be the difference between life and death.
Have you ever had to use a first aid app?