Mobile phones as flashlights

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).

About the author

Doug Wyllie is Editor in Chief of PoliceOne, responsible for setting the editorial direction of the website and managing the planned editorial features by our roster of expert writers. An award-winning columnist — he is the 2014 Western Publishing Association "Maggie Award" winner in the category of Best Regularly Featured Digital Edition Column — Doug has authored more than 900 feature articles and tactical tips on a wide range of topics and trends that affect the law enforcement community. Doug is a member of International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA), an Associate Member of the California Peace Officers' Association (CPOA), and a member of the Public Safety Writers Association (PSWA). Doug is active in his support for the law enforcement community, contributing his time and talents toward police-related charitable events as well as participating in force-on-force training, search-and-rescue training, and other scenario-based training designed to prepare cops for the fight they face every day on the street.

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