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AlertCops App for Emergencies

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Mudcrone

Mudcrone
Camino(s) past & future
2012-2018 Frances, Via de la Plata, Portugues Central and Seaside, Norte
I've posted this in some threads, but thought it might be useful here. There is an excellent app for emergencies, of any kind, in Spain.
There is an app called AlertCops it is run by the Spanish Ministry. You download it and register with it. Then if you have an emergency of any type in Spain you click it. Someone responds immediately in your language, has located you through gps and asks what is the problem. It works. I did a faceplant a week ago on the Spiritual Variente between Pontevedra and Padron. I was bleeding and couldn't move. The person on the other end asked me what was wrong, and then said the ambulance was on the way. Two Guarda guys came on motorcycles and carried me down the hill to the ambulance. Ambulance took me to a clinic to bandage me up. It really is an amazing app to have if you are walking the Camino, especially if, like me, you like to walk alone. It can be used for any kind of emergency.
 

Bala

Veteran member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances: SJPdP-Burgos, (2015); Burgos-Sarria (2018); Sarria-Santiago (2018).
Frances (2020)
Thanks for the excellent reference and your personal testimonial. I hope you are fully recovered now!
 

twh

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances May/June, 2018
Porto-Muxia-Finisterre Oct (2019)
I just looked up this APP and I agree with Mudcrone that it is a valuable tool for getting aid or advice for yourself AND reporting crime or bad behavior that you witness. It is FREE, well organized, easy to use the language of your choice.

It transmits your location to the police when you open the app and choose "Call" or "Chat". You can have that location feature "on" all the time or only when you open the APP. You can also link the APP with three other travelers/friends/family also on the Camino and see their location and vice versa.

You populate the fields you want with the info you want to share and you can add in the notes area special things the police should know such as medications or medical conditions or other contacts etc... In these times I think we are reluctant to share more info than the minimum on any APP but when we find ourselves in an emergency, where it might be hard to think straight or we are injured and it is very difficult to talk/type and provide the basic info to the authorities, having done all of that before the emergency could be very convenient if not life saving. It loaded fast on my phone and has very good instructions and FAQ's. When my trip is over, I will delete the APP. Then I will download it just before arriving on the next trip to Spain.

Calling 112 (911 in the USA) is reserved for extreme, life threatening situations. I and probably you too are reluctant to use it. This APP gives you the chance to communicate with law enforcement for any and all levels of assistance. I'll probably never use it but if I find myself in that unenviable situation where I need it, I will be so glad I have it at the ready. (I just hope I can remember that I have the APP - I think I will move it to my opening-first screen on my phone just before I leave for Spain to help remind me every day that I have that special tool on board).


Does the phone's cellular service need to be on?
I don't know the answer for sure to this question and I am not good with technology but I assume if you choose to alert authorities via a voice phone call or a text (they use the word "chat" in the APP) then yes you need cellular service. I believe in some situations with a very weak or no apparent cell signal, texting can work when a voice call will not. If you are able to access WIFI, then maybe you would not need cell service.

There are Satellite Phones and less expensive Satellite Messaging devices made by Garmin/Delorme, SPOT and probably others that use satellites not only for location to send out a S.O.S./Rescue Me Now, but some can also handle short 2-way texting to communicate important information. Maybe this technology will be built into our phones in the future but right now this technology requires additional hardware that takes up additional physical space. These satellite phones start at about $600 to purchase and then the plan you buy for service is very expensive. Calls to a land line are about $1/minute, calls to and from other satellite phones can be $15/minute. Satellite Messaging devices also require a service plan that at a minimum will be about $250/yr and enable you a small allocation of text messaging. The plans go up in price quickly with more features and more text message allocation. Going over your plan's limits incurs more charges. If on a budget re: $$ and weight, these devices are low priority, especially on the busier Camino routes where cell phone coverage is almost everywhere and the next hiker, town or house that can render some help is almost always within a few kilometers.

The typical buyer for these satellite Phones and Messaging Devices are hikers in very remote areas where there is no chance of finding a cell signal for prolonged periods of time...wilderness or out at sea. Those who use them in populated areas do so for family peace of mind as much as the ability to send out an emergency "rescue me" signal. The family peace of mind includes knowing their is S.O.S. capability but mostly it's the feature that allows them to track your progress on map on their home computer, seeing where you stop each night, how long you rest, what kind of pace you are keeping and the short text msg at the end of of the day saying "I'm ok". This can offer great comfort to a spouse who stays home while their loved on is on the Camino. Plus, they can confirm their Spouse (or the satellite messaging device) is actually slogging through the hot Meseta and not gallivanting in Monaco with a lover.
 
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Meggins

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances - One complete St.J.P.P to Santiago plus twice more for 500km each time.
I keep in touch via an 'all OK' SPOT message button to 10 email addresses (family and friends) This also spotlights where I am via Satellite with a link they can click on to see map and also visually explore the town/place. There is also a 'help' button that goes to same people for such things as 'help, please send money!!' or had to quit early due to injury and changing return date to xxxxxx - please meet me'. The other button is for if you have a real SOS emergency situation ie| fell down a ravine or know my leg is broken etc etc. This button sends out your GPS coordinates and calls out the nearest search and rescue service to your location. Works anywhere in the world. Stops relatives and friends from thinking you are lost when you aren't and reassures them you will be rescued if necessary. I take this on my Caminos. Think it's a great thing!! Love my SPOT --)
 

Mudcrone

Mudcrone
Camino(s) past & future
2012-2018 Frances, Via de la Plata, Portugues Central and Seaside, Norte
I keep in touch via an 'all OK' SPOT message button to 10 email addresses (family and friends) This also spotlights where I am via Satellite with a link they can click on to see map and also visually explore the town/place. There is also a 'help' button that goes to same people for such things as 'help, please send money!!' or had to quit early due to injury and changing return date to xxxxxx - please meet me'. The other button is for if you have a real SOS emergency situation ie| fell down a ravine or know my leg is broken etc etc. This button sends out your GPS coordinates and calls out the nearest search and rescue service to your location. Works anywhere in the world. Stops relatives and friends from thinking you are lost when you aren't and reassures them you will be rescued if necessary. I take this on my Caminos. Think it's a great thing!! Love my SPOT --)
Seems to be an expensive solution
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Ch. d'Arles: Oloron Ste Marie to Aragones; Frances (2016); V.d.l.P.; Sanabres (2017)
I have been using SPOT for years, mostly for walking alone in the Rocky Mountains. A few days ago, I saw their most recent basic version, the Gen 3, for just under $100. Cdn. I think that was on sale. My old one still works, so I did not choose to replace it. I buy an annual subscription for about $200. If I choose to buy a new SPOT X, with texting capability, it sells for about $350.00, but it is possible to pay for a monthly service for only when it is needed, so the service charge would generally be less. My youngest brother, who is a bush pilot, focused on safety, says that the lower subscription cost would make the new hardware pay for itself in a couple of years. There are lots of options, so each traveler can decide depending on her/his situation. I take my SPOT with me on camino, but have also downloaded the AlertCops app to my cell phone and will activate it when I get to Spain.
 

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