MyFlare Aims to be an All-in-one Personal Safety App
Nov 25, 2011 10:41 AM –
MyFlare is the FIRST automated multi-functional personal safety app for smartphones! Utilizing 911, text, e-mail, GPS, audio and video, MyFlare™ is your personalized digital flare gun that alerts the help you need when you need it most. Activated by simply pushing a button, MyFlare™ performs ALL of the following actions automatically, simultaneously and continuously to better reach first responders, as well as your family, friends and emergency contacts, in the event you’re in an emergency.
Tested on: MyTouch 3G Slide
Pros & Cons:
- It’s a one-button way to contact everyone you have set up as emergency contacts to let them know you’re in danger.
- Sends email (with video option) and text message with your GPS location to 911 and your emergency contacts.
- The Test mode actually sends emails and texts, and calls the numbers, and while the notices are marked as test, it still gave my parents and husband a heart-stopping moment.
- It’s a bit buggy – It shows up in the app drawer twice, and is basically “installed” twice as separate apps, despite being only installed once.
- Disables phone sleep and unlock features when app not in use.
MyFlare is an app designed to give you a one-button “emergency flare” if you’re ever in danger. You can set it up with all of your emergency contact phone numbers to call and/or text, as well as email addresses. There are three modes once you have it set up – call 911, call the non-911 emergency contacts, or Test mode.
Since I wasn’t going to actually call 911, once I filled in the information, I wanted to run it in test mode, assuming it would test the settings, and not actually contact the people I had put in. Unfortunately, this was incorrect. With the exception of a single line saying it was a test, the app sent out the exact message and information it would send in a real emergency. While good to make sure it’s working, make sure you warn people ahead of time, since it sent emails and text messages to my mother and husband, and just about gave both of them a heart attack. I wish the app had been more clear that test mode doesn’t mean it won’t send the full message. :( So when setting up, make sure everyone you list as a contact is well aware of the app before testing. I would have liked a bit more warning on that.
My other issue with the app is that it is showing up twice. If I go into Applications, it is only there once, however, in the app drawer it it showing up twice, with the exact same information. This would be an annoyance than anything else, but it is a serious issue if you tap the second app icon, this invokes the entire app setup process again versus the one-touch emergency activation screen. Which in the case of an emergency is not a bug you need… it’s a bug I’d like to see fixed ASAP.
Getting around the latter bug means placing the app icon (the first one!) on your home screen for easy access (given the emergent nature of this app it’s probably recommended to do that anyway). Aside from those errors, once everything is setup properly the app does what it says. Granted I only tested the non-emergency option because I didn’t want to actually call the Police in testing, it sent text messages with my GPS location to all my emergency contacts, then called the contacts on my list. Upon hanging up, it launched the camera app and took video in increments which were attached to emails to my emergency contact list, lastly in between activities it sounded off the Police siren until I hit the ‘Terminate MyFlare’ button. That’s a lot of convenient functionality which you probably won’t think to use in the case of an emergency.
The final bug derived from the app sent the lock screen and screen timeout settings haywire. Meaning after the app is closed the screen wouldn’t turn off nor would the unlock screen appear after waking the phone. A quick restart fixed this, however, it is a small nuisance.
Watch on Mobile
If you ever are actually in trouble, then this app could save your life, so I’d say it’s more than useful. However, given that testing it nearly sent my entire family into panic mode, and I could see it very easily being accidentally hit, it could give out false messages very easily as well, which wouldn’t be good.
Ease of Use:
It was very easy to set up and use – almost too easy, given that it managed to scare years off the lives of the people I listed as emergency contacts. Granted the app allows you to edit the message, maybe a less concerning default message such as “Toni is testing MyFlare, a personal emergency app, please let her know if you got this message.” would be better than sending out the full emergency messages.
Once you set it up, this is an app you hope you never need. However, if you ever do need to use it, it is because you are in danger and need help, and so that one time could potentially save your life.
Again, it’s very easy to use – I think too easy. The three modes are at the bottom of the splash page once you set it up, and all it takes is one tap for it to start calling, emailing and texting people. If you are in an emergency, then quick access is a good thing, however, it does make it easy to accidentally send out a false message.
( out of 5)
Should you Download MyFlare? I’m a bit mixed on this app. On the one hand, it really does what it says, and alerts everyone with messages they can’t ignore, along with information like GPS coordinates and optional short video clips of what your phone is seeing, that could save a person’s life. On the other hand, test mode is a bit of a misnomer, and it is very easy to send out emergency messages by accident, which doesn’t do anyone any good. Add in the weird double-app-drawer bug, and this is something I’d say would be good to watch, but it needs a bit of polishing before it becomes something I would want to have on my device, on a child’s device, full time.