A survey conducted in the spring from Moby, a company that develops personal safety mobile applications and is featured on this list, found that the most common safety devices respondents carried while on the job were phones (95.5 percent).
Hawkins advised agents planning to use a safety app to have it ready in advance.
"One thing that is important in using a safety app as a tool … (as with) any other safety tool: it must be accessible. The emergency button needs to be on the screen, ready to be pressed in an emergency situation. Agents will not have time to fumble with their phone, find the app, open it and press it in an emergency situation. It needs to be ready to go," she said.
"The good news is that most developers offer one-time low payments or free basic plans. For a monthly fee users can add services that include live emergency monitoring, medical monitoring, advanced GPS features and more. However, the basic plan is enough to allow agents to work with an additional safety net and safety partner beside them 24/7."
Hawkins is currently writing a book on real estate agent safety. As part of that process, she is running a contest for agents to submit their safety tips to her blog. Those who submit the best tips will win an agent safety kit. Winners will be chosen Sept. 30.
The following apps are in alphabetical order. Unless the app is a paid download, the features described here are those available on the apps’ free basic plans.
- Available on Android, BlackBerry, iPhone, iPod Touch, Windows 7.
- Basic plan: free.
- Premium plan: $1.99 per month or $19.99 per year.
- Features: send an alert via phone, email, and text that includes your location to emergency contacts.
- Available on iPhone.
- Paid download: $2.99.
- Features: automatically take a photo and email it with the GPS map location to email contacts in one touch.
- Available on BlackBerry, iPhone.
- Basic plan: Free.
- Premium plan: $9.95/month or $99.95/year.
- Features: share your location with family and friends; set a recurring schedule to ask "Are you OK?"; in case of emergency alert chosen contacts and emergency services (only on a BlackBerry).
- Available on iPhone, Android.
- Paid download: $1.99.
- Features: call 911 in one tap, alert a friend, sound an alarm, save details on suspicious persons, and locate the nearest hospital. This app was created by Austin, Texas, real estate agent Michelle Jones.
- Available on Android.
- Basic plan: free.
- Premium plan: $9.95 per month.
- Features: send text and email panic alerts to emergency contact list with GPS location.
- Available on: BlackBerry; SmrtGuard Pro also available on Android and iPhone.
- Basic plan: Free
- Premium plan: $2.49 per user per month; yearly license plans also available.
- Features: activate one-push panic button to send out an email, text message, or Twitter message with location information to your contact list; trigger an emergency call to any preset number, including 911.
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