October 16th, 2006

[idea] First aid.

On Saturday i went to a free CPR and first aid course for the co-ops. It had been a long time since i had any training in these things, so i figured it would be a good idea to go.

Along the way, i realized i was trying to memorize a fairly modest number of facts that could make a big difference in an emergency (30 compressions / 2 breaths, rinse all burns except electrical burns, don't remove embedded objects, call 911 before looking for the epi-pen, ask a person to smile to test for a stroke, tilt the head forward when stopping a bleeding nose, ...). And soon after that i wondered:
Why doesn't every mobile phone come with these facts?
The more i thought about it, the more ludicrous it seemed to me that millions of people are walking around with these phones that have useless games pre-installed on them that you never use, and yet they don't have even the most basic information that could save someone's life in an emergency. (And yeah, i know there are lots of ludicrous things about the design of mobile phones — i could go on — but this seems like an especially big one.)

It shouldn't be complicated. Pressing the emergency button on your phone should give you a short menu of options (Is the person unconscious? Are they bleeding?), provide the most effective facts you need, and offer to call 911 when necessary. Probably two levels of menus should be enough. Ideally, the menus would be periodically updated with new information provided by the Red Cross or some medical authority. I know in some situations you won't have a free hand to operate your phone while dealing with an emergency, but it's still helpful to have the facts available — if you're unsure you can stop for a quick check, or a friend can look it up, or you can study from it when you're waiting around.

The phone vendor or mobile carrier that provides this as a standard feature would have a significant selling advantage. Other things being equal, surely you'd prefer the "safe phone" when getting phones for yourself or your kids. The phone vendors compete so hard with each other that i don't see why they don't include this already. (Then again, they compete so hard with each other that i also don't see why most phones have ridiculous user interfaces and obnoxious ringtones, so clearly i don't understand this market.)

Wouldn't all the emergency preparation organizations be behind an idea like this?

Update: Google found this, which is like a document you can read on your phone. That seems useful for studying, but not so good for immediate response. MobiMedic is a lot closer to what i had in mind — too bad you have to buy it, it's not well known, and you have to wait umpteen seconds for Java to start whenever you use it. Make something like it standard for every phone.