Search and rescue cops warn people NEVER to use this viral phone trick if you get stuck with no signal
1st November 2021

SEARCH and Rescue teams have warned people should never NEVER do a "life-saving" phone trick that has gone viral.

A social media post shared thousands of times tells people to change their voicemail greeting if they are lost to include information about their location and situation.

But rather than life saving – it could be life-threatening, with many experts now pointing out major flaws in the advice.

The post reads: "If you are ever lost while hiking, get stranded with a broken down car etc and you notice your phone is either low on juice or has no signal, here is a tip that may very well save your life.

"Change the voicemail on your phone to a message that gives your approximate location, the time, the date, your situation (lost, out of gas, car broken down, injured etc) and any special instructions such as you are staying with the car, you are walking towards town etc.

"The best part of this is that even if your cell phone dies or stops working, voicemail still works, so anyone calling your phone looking for you will hear the message and know where to find you or where to send help."

In the last few weeks, the post has been shared thousands of times on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

But The Alpine Rescue Team have slammed the post in a response – pointing out that it spreads misinformation and shared their own tips.

They wrote: "1. Without a signal you can't change your voicemail.

“The voicemail system resides with your cell provider. To change your outgoing message, you have to CALL into your voicemail and then navigate the menus, record a new greeting, confirm the new greeting, etc. You cannot do this with no signal.

“2. If your battery is low do not waste its power by calling your voice mail—or a friend or relative. Call 9-1-1 for help.

“3. If you have no signal, text for help to 9-1-1. Many, if not most, 9-1-1 centers can receive a text.

"4. Text takes much less power, is far more likely to get through, will automatically retry many times if you have spotty service, leaves record others can see and can give you an indication that it got through. 

“By the way, because of the automatic retries, you can compose and hit send on a text and then get your phone as high as possible to improve the chances of getting the message out.

“5. Stay put. Okay, if you're lost or broken down and you've called for help (assuming you have signal and battery) please stay in one location – unless you must move for safety reasons.

“Changing your location makes our job more difficult. Trying to reach someone whose GPS location we have (within a circle, of course) is faster for us than trying to nail down a moving target. STAY PUT.

“6. Maximize battery life. In order to make the battery last longer, turn off everything you do not need. Close all apps. Turn off WiFi and Bluetooth.

"Don't use your cell phone as a GPS/map device and especially do not use the compass if your phone has one — the compass feature in some phones is a serious battery drain. 

“Pull out your map and compass and/or use a dedicated GPS unit. You may be instructed, by text, to turn your phone off and text back at a specific time. Also, keep your phone just a little warm with some body heat or a handwarmer."

People have been sharing tips to stay safe after Gabby Petito's body was found in early this year.

Gabby Petito was a 22-year-old who went on a cross-country road trip with her fiancé, Brian Laundrie, and never returned home.

She was last seen on August 24, 2021, in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Her body was found on September 19 in Grand Teton National Park, and the cause of death was revealed to be strangulation.

Meanwhile a mother is searching for her son who has gone missing in the same park where she was found.

Cian McLaughlin, 27, has been missing since June 8. He was last seen in the park going out for a hike, NewsNationNow reports

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