Safety first: Eight phone apps that prioritize public safety Safety first: Eight phone apps that prioritize public safety
BY ISABELLA MARCON There are horror stories on the news seemingly every day. Stories of serial killers, assaults, robberies and human trafficking are pervasive... Safety first: Eight phone apps that prioritize public safety


There are horror stories on the news seemingly every day. Stories of serial killers, assaults, robberies and human trafficking are pervasive and can make one feel unsafe. In addition to man-made threats, there are traffic accidents, fires, floods, sudden weather emergencies and other disasters that can unexpectedly jeopardize one’s safety. 

At times, it can all seem overwhelming. Fortunately, though, there are a plethora of phone apps that can provide a measure of safety for family and friends in these troubling times. 

1. Noonlight

In situations where you are unable to call 911 safely, have an immediate emergency or simply feel unsafe, the “Noonlight” app can allow you to get emergency help to your exact location. The app has a digitized “button” that users can hold down until they feel that they are in a safe location. Once the button is released, the user is asked to type in their code. If they do not enter their code within 10 seconds, the authorities will be notified. The app also features a “Timeline” in which users can input details or information relating to specific events that occur throughout their day or if they see something suspicious happening. In case of an emergency, the app will share data inputted into the user’s “Timeline” with first responders. 

2. Circle of 6 

Originally created to combat violence, “Circle of 6” is a simple app that provides users with a quick, discreet way of notifying up to six emergency contacts when they’re in an emergency or risky situation. The app allows users to send a pre-programmed Short Message Service (SMS) alert message with their exact location to their emergency contacts, with just the tap of a button. The app also connects users to 24-hour hotlines, as well as a website regarding comprehensive information about online sexual health. 

3. Bond

The mission of the “Bond” security app is to create a safer world and environment for the benefit of all users. Much like the “Noonlight” app, users are able to tap a button in order to alert a personal security agent of when they are in an unsafe or uncomfortable situation. However, not only does this app include a “safe button,” but the app also features a siren button that upon activation, sounding an alarm and flashing lights. If not deactivated after 10-seconds, the user will then be connected to their personal security agent. While also having a personal security agent, the app also allows users to dial 911 from inside the app, therefore having three functions in one platform.

4. Life360

The “Life360” app allows users to share and view the real-time locations of their family, friends or other app members on a private map. After choosing a customizable list of members to include in a user’s private circle, the app then gives users the opportunity to create a “geofence zone” around their most frequently-visited areas. Those in the circle are given access to their members’ locations, receive real-time alerts when friends or family arrive or leave these areas and see the past location history of other members. The app also stores and produces information after one’s car rides and notifies users about them in order to improve driving safety.

5. Citizen

Aiming to protect users and their community, the “Citizen” app provides users with real-time safety alerts and live videos of nearby incidents and allows them to report incidents themselves. Within the app, users can broadcast their own live videos of nearby incidents, watch live videos from multiple angles and points of views or even observe global news and provide feedback. 

6. Fire & Police Scanner Radio

The “Fire & Police Scanner Radio” app’s main point of focus is to notify users of live police, fire, weather, news and crime wave incidents near them. The app allows users to listen to live police scanners, fire alarms, air traffic controls, emergency alerts and amateur radio stations to gain crucial information about community incidents. The app provides users with thousands of scanner radio feeds from all over the world, which can be viewed through an integrated map. 

7. Emergency: Alerts by the American Red Cross

Created by the American Red Cross, the “Emergency: Alerts” app provides users with real-time, local alerts for severe weather and hazards, including earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunamis, winter storms and other things within their area. The app features a variety of useful tools, including preloaded preparedness and critical emergency content, a digital “toolkit” with a flashlight, strobe light and audible alarm, interactive quizzes regarding extreme-event safety, a map with open Red Cross shelters and other weather-related resources.

8. First Aid: American Red Cross

Much like the “Emergency: Alerts” app, the “First Aid: American Red Cross” app was created by the Red Cross to provide users with expert advice regarding emergencies. The “First Aid” app supplies step-by-step instructions to users with guidance towards common first aid scenarios, including burns, heat strokes, concussions or head injuries, sprains and strains, hypothermia and seizures. The app also features videos, animations, interactive quizzes and safety tips to make the first aid learning process easier for users.

No phone app can prevent all threats to safety, weather concerns or crimes. However, with these eight apps, people can ensure they are informed about known threats and the location of their loved ones.

Photo by Sydney Katz