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These Android apps could be useful in an emergency

by Caitlin M. Foyt

Life is filled with frustrating, and sometimes terrifying, "oh, crap" moments. We burn the pot roast or forget a good friend's birthday. We drive the car into a ditch, find ourselves in the path of an enormous storm or accidentally cut ourselves so deeply with a kitchen knife that we must go to the hospital.

Accidents and things outside of our control are happening all of the time. Here are a bunch of great apps to have on hand when bad stuff happens.

Medical Emergency Apps

Note: In the event of a life-threatening or emergency medical situation, call 911 immediately and do not rely solely on the information provided by these apps.

ICE: In Case of Emergency ($3.99)

God forbid it happens, but say you start having a heart attack. Somebody yells to call 911 and soon, you find yourself in the back of an ambulance. But, when you're dealing with a personal trauma, it's not likely you're going to think to tell the EMT about you various allergies unsolicited. In case something medically unfortunate like this ever happens, In Case of Emergency is a great app to have in your Android library. ICE provides EMTs with all of your critical personal and medical data including name, important notification telephone numbers, blood type, allergies, physician's name and number, and existing medical conditions.

Droid911 ($1.30)

When you're driving a friend or family member with a pressing injury to the hospital, it's pretty safe to assume that they would appreciate it if you got there sooner rather than later. Based on your location, Droid 911 lets you know where all of the nearest hospitals, police stations, fire stations, tow trucks, auto repair shops, gas stations and ATM machines are, based on your location.

First Aid (Free)

If your knowledge of first aid is limited to applying Band-Aids, this app will help to fill in the rest of the blanks during an emergency situation. It has illustrations, videos and short texts that show how to take the necessary action in the correct order. It also offers helpful tips when you're dealing with the kind of problems gauze and disinfectant won't help: poisonings, head injuries and seizures or hypothermia. First Aid clears up commonly-held health myths and tests your knowledge with quick quizzes. There's also a first aid kit checklist to ensure that you have all the supplies you need before an accident happens.

CPR Choking (Free)

Would you know what to do if your lunch date started choking? Just in case the stress makes you forget how to perform the Heimlich Maneuver or if it's been a very long time since you were a summer day camp counselor, this app will give you instant, quick videos that show you the steps to effectively performing CPR and administering aid to a choking victim.

Emergency Childbirth ($0.99)

We've all seen it happen in the movies. A group of people are stranded in a cabin or in an elevator when a pregnant woman’s' water breaks. What would you do? Well, if you have Emergency Childbirth downloaded, you just follow the directions. Not only does the app tell you exactly what to do and what not to do, there are also details about the different stages of labor and what you need to do to prepare to deliver a baby.

Cat Emergency and Dog Emergency ($1.99 each)

Cat EmergencyDog EmergencyWhen Fido eats a pound of chocolate or kitty jumps from your balcony and breaks a leg, it's clearly time to pay a visit to the vet. The Cat Emergency and Dog Emergency apps are designed to help guide you through the important decisions about first aid in the interim. They also provide you with tips on how and when to transport your pet to the nearest animal emergency facility.

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Disaster Emergency Apps

Disaster Readiness 2011 ($1.99)

This app is your go-to manual for any disaster you can imagine. From tsunamis, tornadoes, blizzards (like those recently seen across the country) or even man-made chemical disasters, this is a very thorough guide complete with step-by-step instructions on how to secure, treat and survive the worst case scenario.

Social Emergency Apps

Fake-A-Call Free (Free)

There are few things more uncomfortable than an awkward conversation. Fake-A-Call is a great app to have on hand when I'm back in my home town. Whenever I run into an irritating old classmate at the bank or an ex-boyfriend at the coffee shop, I can fake a "very important call" and get out of what is guaranteed to be a very weird exchange. Either hit the "Call Now!" button or schedule a call in advance. In case you have difficulty faking a conversation, you can have the app play a scripted dialogue from a "boss," a "child" or a "friend" in need of help. Fake-A-Call can also dictate lines for you to repeat out loud.

Venmo (Free)

Cash-only restaurants always catch me by surprise because I almost never carry cash. I can't tell you how many times I've been armed only with plastic and have had to flash friends my best doe eyes and ask them to lend me a little cash. Venmo works like a sort of insurance policy for making sure that your friend's get paid back. The app lets you pay or charge Venmo friends instantly from your mobile phone. You can also alert friends with a message or memo attached to each transaction. It's a great way to settle your debts without making people impatient or making anyone feel uncomfortable.

1-800 Flowers Mobile Gift Center (Free)

So, you forgot your wedding anniversary and your mother's birthday. These are two very important dates, which means, chances are, these offenses may not be quickly forgiven. So, do the right thing and apologize. Then, jump on the 1-800 Flower Mobile app and schedule a next-day delivery for a pair of floral arrangements or gift baskets. Flowers and candy won't change the fact that you messed up, but they may help to smooth over the problem in the meantime.

Undo SMS ($0.99)

You hear about it all the time. A girl accidentally sends a text message to her boss or her father that was intended for her boyfriend. Yikes. Undo SMS is an app that allows you to automatically cancel an SMS as it is being sent. At the exact moment that you realize what you have done, you can just push the big red "Undo" button and spare yourself some embarrassment.

Car Issue Apps

Car Accident Toolkit (Free)

This app allows you to thoroughly document your accident by giving you a series of questions to answer -- all information that your insurance company will need to file a claim. In the wake of a horrible experience like a car accident, it's very difficult to think clearly. This app is great because you don't need to frantically search for a pen and piece of paper or come up with the answers to all of these questions on your own. You just have to fill in the blanks.

Viper SmartStart (Free)

Once, while picking up a friend from the airport, I locked my keys in the car while it was still running. The entire time I spent waiting for the tow truck to show up and jimmy the door open, I was afraid that I was going to run out of gas. If I had Viper SmartStart, I never would have had to go through that. This app allows drivers to remotely start their car, lock and unlock doors, pop the trunk, and more. Just know that this does take some forethought and requires a few things to be installed on your car. It sounds like installation of a system like this costs around $300, but if you lock your keys in your car often, it might be a good investment. If you're interested, you can go to to learn more.

Related: Android apps worth downloading, even if you only use them once