According to a recent "Ready for Emergencies" survey, released by the company EmergencyLink, 89 percent of Americans have not taken the basic step of keeping emergency information with them including emergency contacts and important medical information.
While 29 percent of people do have a designated In Case of Emergency or ICE contact programmed into their mobile devices the survey found this information often does not help first responders because 25 percent of people have auto locking or password features on their phone that prevent this information from being retrieved.
Not having this kind of information can leave emergency personnel scrambling to find family if someone is severely injured or unconscious when they arrive.
"Imagine you were in a car accident and you were unconscious and they took you to the hospital how would they know who to call? In many cases they will look at your drivers license and maybe that's current or not but there's certainly no phone number on it and there's no in case of emergency information," Michael Soenen, CEO of EmergencyLink, told 9NEWS.
That's why Emergency Link is offering a new, free service which makes emergency information available to first responders and medical professionals.
"If you sign up with EmergencyLink you sign up your emergency contacts. And once you've signed up we will send you our ID cards and a little sticker that goes on the back of your driver's license and if you do get injured they call our 800 number. We'll work with whoever is making the call and we will connect them to all of your emergency contacts," Soenen said.
You can sign up for the free service by going to EmergencyLink.com.
Also this month the Red Cross has released a smartphone app designed to help with emergency preparedness.
The "First Aid" app takes users through a variety of scenarios step-by-step. It also provides safety tips for natural disasters and allows users to call 9-1-1 right from the app.
All of the content is preloaded onto the phone so users don't need reception or an internet connection to use it.
The app is free of charge and available now for Android and iPhone.
(KUSA-TV © 2012 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)