Be Smart About Personal Safety with Apps

Michelle McCann
By Michelle McCann
COMMUNICATIONS SPECIALIST

When you sense that you might be in danger, you can use one or more of these apps to let colleagues know where you are, send a distress signal, sound an alarm, call the police, or dial 911.

As a REALTOR®, do you feel prepared to deal with a threatening situation? Entering vacant properties, showing listings, chauffeuring strangers, and holding open houses present a unique set of occupational safety challenges. Personal safety is a constant concern for REALTORS®, who must meet new people while working alone. Fortunately, if you own a smartphone, you’re never truly alone. Here are four mobile apps that will help to minimize your risk and provide you with some peace of mind.

SafeTrek

SafeTrek can give you a measure of comfort when your “sixth sense” tells you that you are in danger. After you launch the app, hold your finger on the screen’s safe sensor until you feel safe once again. Entering a four-digit pin after your finger is removed notifies the app that everything is all right. If your instincts prove correct and the situation is a genuine emergency, remove your finger from the safe button. SafeTrek will call the police and use your built-in GPS to send them to your exact location. This app costs $3 a month and is available for both Apple and Android operating systems.

HomeSnap Pro

HomeSnap Pro is a real estate app with an easy-to-use safety timer feature. While at a showing with an unfamiliar client, you can set a timer telling HomeSnap how long you plan to be there. If your timer expires without a response, a text message will be sent to your emergency contacts informing them that you are in danger. You can also send an instant distress alert to your emergency contacts with just one tap. HomeSnap Pro is an update to the free version of HomeSnap. It costs $29.99 a month for individual agents, includes other real estate utilities, and is available for both Apple and Android devices

Companion

Companion is a free app that designates a “companion” who digitally accompanies you in potentially dangerous situations. When you select friends, family members, or colleagues to be your “companions,” they are texted a link to a GPS-enabled map that allows them to follow you. Unlike other apps, companions don’t need to download the app to follow you. If you don’t arrive at your destination on time, drop your phone, shake your phone, or start to run, the app will ask if you are okay. The app sounds an audible alarm to scare criminals and alerts companions if there is no response. You can also tap your phone’s screen to share your location and call 911. This app is free and is available for both Apple and Android operating systems.

Honorable Mention: Another app similar to Companion is called bSafe.

Parachute

Parachute is a live-streaming app that works as a panic button for the smartphone age. It will broadcast your GPS location, audio, and video to a predefined set of emergency contacts with one touch. Contacts will receive a phone call and text message alert with a link to live-streaming video and live GPS updates. One-time free trials of Parachute are available for a month or more. A Parachute subscription costs $0.99 a month and is available only for the Apple operating system.