What To Do In An Emergency When Your Phone Is Dying

Last week,a hiker got lostwhile hiking Mount Elbert, Colorado – and rescuers tried to call the hiker’s phone, but couldn’t reach them. Turns out, they were ignoring the call because they didn’t recognize the number. Don’t do that! If you’re in an emergency situation, answer your phone.

But, if your phone is dying, there are some additional steps you should take to stay safe. One piece of advice that has been floating about is to “change your voicemail” to be a message with your location and safety information to help get the word out to anyone who may try to call you. This may sound smart in theory, but safety experts recommend skipping that and trying these other things instead.

  • Send a text. Texts take very little battery and very little signal strength to send.
  • Save battery. Turn on power-saving mode, turn your brightness all the way down, and if you can, put your phone into airplane mode temporarily.
  • Call 911 if you possibly can. Cell providers are required to route 911 calls, no matter what. (But make sure it is an emergency!)
  • Stay put. Especially if you did send that text to a friend or get in touch with 911 saying where you are.


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