HOW TO USE YOUR PHONE AS A SURVIVAL TOOL
Survival has changed through the years. We have a lot of equipment available to us today, which was not available 20 years ago. Part of this is due to increases in technology, while another part is directly related to the high interest in prepping and survival in recent years.
One important piece of anyone’s survival gear, which has nothing to do with the new gadgets that have come out of the prepping movement, is your smartphone. While not designed for the purpose of survival, there are many things you and I can use it for, which will help us to survive, especially in a short-term survival situation.
There are two separate and distinct sides to this: communications and applications. Most people will put communications on the secondary list of survival priorities, due to the ability to make contact with others, as well as getting news. The applications part comes from the ability to install useful apps in a modern phone, which enable it to do a wide variety of things for you.
The first and most important use of a cell phone in a survival situation is to call for help. Contrary to the way that things may seem on most survival websites, the most likely survival situation any of us will face isn’t a grid-down situation with the world falling apart around us, it’s either a natural disaster or a personal accident, perhaps out in the woods. In those cases, calling for help is usually more effective than trying to execute a self-rescue.
Of course, it helps to use that phone before you get into a survival situation, letting someone know what’s going on in your life; where you are going and when you expect to be back. That way, if you don’t return on time, they can contact the authorities and let them know something has happened to you.
Nevertheless, calling for help is the fastest way of getting that help. A call from a friend who you haven’t contacted will be treated as a “missing person’s call,” which won’t be acted upon until you’re at least 24 hours late. If you have signal and can call 9-1-1, you can get things rolling immediately, especially if you’re injured. Don’t forget, you can often get a text message to go through, even when you don’t have enough signal for a call. You can even text 9-1-1 in many areas.
The second biggest survival use of your cell phone is for its GPS feature. One important thing that most people overlook, is that GPS doesn’t depend on your phone signal or internet access. The GPS chip in the phone receives signals directly from the GPS constellation of satellites.
However, that GPS depends on the maps that are in your phone. If you are outside of your normal area of operations, your phone may not have those maps downloaded. So, while you may be able to get your location, it may not give you anything else, like roads and communities around you. To prevent this problem, it’s always a good idea to open up your GPS program when in a new area, so that it can capture those maps while you have signal.
Of course, the typical GPS program is only based on roads, not hiking trails. So you may not get much more than an idea of where you are, compared to roads and cities. Still, that can help you find your way out, if you’re lost.
There are many different apps which can help you in a survival situation, such as:
Flashlight – for the obvious reason
Compass – useful even without GPS
Kindle – download and access survival references
Red Cross first-aid app
Scanner radio – to track police, fire and rescue