It’s every parent’s worst nightmare to receive a call in the middle of the night. If you’ve ever been awakened by an emergency phone call, you’ll relate to the story behind the Umergency App and why it was created.
“Mom, there’s been an accident and it’s really bad.” The EMT took the phone and said, “We’re calling with a partial amputation. We’re pulling into emergency; we’ll call you back.”
Gail Schenbaum Lawton’s daughter, Alex, was attending college out of state, when she received the call in the middle of the night. Terrified, Gail grabbed her phone to locate local emergency resources and contacts, but realized that she had nothing - not even her daughter's Resident Advisor or roommate.
“There is no worse feeling than finding out your child is going through a medical emergency, and not being able to reach anyone as a point of contact. No parent should have to go through something like that,” said Gail, Co-Founder of Umergency.
4.5 million college-aged young adults, a rate of nearly one out of every four, visit the emergency room each year - that’s staggering and scary!
Most college students and their families are ill-prepared to handle an emergency situation. Further, googling critical contact information in a heightened state of emergency isn’t the answer.
It felt like an eternity until Gail was called back and finally got permission to speak with medical staff. She learned that her daughter’s hand had been caught in a heavy door, and surgeons would need to reattach her thumb. Thankfully, the subsequent surgery was a success, and in time, Alex regained full use. But the experience was enough to get Gail thinking, “I can’t be the only parent dealing with something like this.”
In entrepreneurship, they say the best ideas come out of a personal experience, and this is a perfect example. Gail wanted to prevent other families from going through the same harrowing experience.
She called her brother, Barry, and together they created Umergency, a mobile application to provide college students and their families with the necessary tools to navigate through any emergency. They assembled a team of developers and tech entrepreneurs, and began consulting with students, parents, colleges and medical professionals across the country, developing the only all-in-one emergency, health and safety solution for college families.
The Umergency App empowers college students and their families by putting the power of information in their hands when they need it most. The Umergency app features: an Urgent Alert beacon that notifies trusted contacts when you need immediate help; Insurance Card Upload; a Digital Medical Consent form that allows family to speak with medical professionals; On & Off Campus Emergency resources that are pre-populated and customized to your college.
About the Umergency Co-Founders:
Gail Schenbaum Lawton is a former teacher, TV producer/studio executive, and college parent. Gail also created the award-winning In One Instant program, a nationally-recognized high school safe driving program - by teens for teens - that empowers youth to make smart choices and save lives, currently implemented in 40 states throughout the country.
Barry Schenbaum - With over 25 years of marketing experience, Barry has expertise in startups and Fortune 500 firms. As a college parent and entrepreneur, he recently launched a college apparel company, in addition to the Umergency app created with his sister, Gail.