When things go wrong your mobile phone can be a lifeline

IT’S National Farm Safety Week this month – 15-19 July 2019 – and as we know only too well in farming, accidents can happen. Heavy machinery, unpredictable animals, and dangerous terrain. No wonder agriculture is the highest risk business in the UK.

And no matter how well you have carried out risk assessments and implemented safety measures, things can go wrong – that’s when your mobile phone can be a true lifeline.

There are many different apps that are available to help keep you safe should the worst happen, features which could mean the difference between life and death. But we are dealing with the basics here.

Keep your phone on!

There’s always a temptation when you’re out in the mountains, with no signal to save the battery, and then forget to switch back on again. It’s the worst thing you can do. When the phone is on the Emergency Services can ‘find’ you, a special system – EISEC – means that all calls made on a mobile can automatically be provided through your phone and service provider and can then be triangulated. Usually this can only be done when requested by the police. An Advanced Mobile Location system has been developed by the industry too, which is 4,000 times more accurate. Simple apps like ‘Find my Friends’ and ‘Find my Phone’ work too, register and set the GPS to stay on.

Saving battery life

You can increase battery life by making simple changes to your phone. Basics like turning down the brightness, the LED display is the biggest power drain, and set the screen to shut down after 30 seconds or less.

Turning off vibrate saves more energy, and do the same for wi-fi, and bluetooth for the same reason. Data roaming often uses 3G or 4G, switch it off and again you extend battery life – you might not be able to make calls, but will still be able to text, which are more reliable in low signal areas.

999 by text

You can use a text to access 999 if you pre-register at any time, particularly valuable in areas with poor signal. You have to set up the phone in advance by sending the word ‘register’ in an SMS message to 999. You then get SMS messages which you have to reply ‘yes’ to. This confirms registration with the system and enables you to use the service permanently, especially useful in an emergency if you are not able to speak, have hearing or speech difficulties or mobile signal drops out when you try to dial 999. Set-up time is between 5 and 10 minutes.

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