July 13, 2010
Mobile phones as flashlights
PoliceOne Senior Editor Doug Wyllie
John Farnam, friend to PoliceOne and recently-named ILEETA Trainer of the Year, sent out a tip last month about the fact that most people in this country — indeed the vast majority of Americans — “are still clueless, willfully stupid, and utterly unprepared for even the mildest of inconveniences, much less genuine emergencies.”
He was talking about the fact that in a whole office building full of people in which the power had gone out, only one individual had a flashlight. This got me to thinking, and not just about changing the batteries in the flashlight in my “earthquake kit” beneath my desk here at PoliceOne (if you work a desk within mortar range of two major fault lines like I do, it’s a good idea to have that light, a gallon or two of water, clean socks, shorts, and chow for a couple days, and rotate that stock regularly).
Not a lot of people know this, but a lot of people could benefit from it, so it qualifies as a communications technology tp. There is a downloadable application for many so-called smart phones like BlackBerry, iPhone, Droid, HTC Hero, Palm, et al. These function as a very capable little flashlight in a real emergency. This is not an optimal solution, and certainly not a substitute for having a flashlight at the ready in case of an emergency, but in most major emergencies the cell networks are likely to be jammed up or unavailable altogether, so this option makes the phone at least somewhat useful (beyond expensive paper weight).