Emergency apps for travelers
By Suzanne Mason

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From a toothache to an earthquake, accidents can happen anytime and anywhere while traveling. According to the U.S. Travel Insurance Association, about 124 million Americans invested $1.8 billion in travel insurance in 2010. Although travel insurance is helpful in the long run, what about the right now? Here are a few apps to help in case of an emergency.

Smart Traveler — This free app provided by the U.S. Department of State provides information on alerts and warnings that are in place at your destination. It also tells you what to expect when entering or exiting customs. Once you have enrolled, the Smart Traveler program provides family members the ability to contact you if an emergency does arise. It also gives users a direct line of contact to the consulate and up-to-date information in various emergency situations.

!Emergency! — 911 is the U.S. number to call in case of an emergency, but what about when you go outside of the U.S.? This paid iPhone app, provides the emergency number to any country when an emergency arises.

mPassport — Although it is a paid app for both iPhone and Android, this is one of the ultimate medical emergency apps. Using the GPS, it will display a list of doctors and dentists around the immediate area in case of an emergency. It also provides information about nearby pharmacies, emergency services and hospitals, as well as a drug equivalency guide.

American Heart Association — During the 2010 Haiti earthquake, a man was able to save his own life by learning how to treat his wounds he had sustained through the American Heart Association's information on how to treat a compound fracture. The AHA has a paid app for iPhone and Android — Pocket First Aid & CPR, reflecting the update of the 2010 AHA CPR & ECC techniques. It also provides videos on how to do CPR and certain first aid techniques.

Help Call — The Help Call app provides the same information as the !Emergency! app except it goes a little beyond. The paid app will automatically detect your location and with a press of a button will contact the local fire, police or ambulance.

American Red Cross — The American Red Cross app is similar to the American Heart Association as far as providing information on how to do CPR and first aid. It also provides tips on weather emergencies such as hurricanes, earthquakes and tornadoes. The app even stores medical information about allergies, or products to which a user is allergic.

No one is ever ready for an emergency, but these apps can help you to be more prepared when one does.

Suzanne Mason is a content editor at MultiBriefs specializing in the travel and hospitality industries.