Here are 8 apps to help you safeguard your family, home and prized possessions and prepare for many of the emergencies life might throw at you.
Before Disaster Strikes Apps
This is one of the most trusted weather prediction apps for your phone. In addition to the usual hourly, daily and extended forecasts, it boasts the most up-to-date and accurate severe weather warnings for a given area, based on GPS.
WeatherBug includes live Doppler radar and real-time traffic conditions as well. Planning to spend time on the water or at the park? Try out the app’s Spark feature, a lightning proximity alert that can tell you when it’s time to run inside.
Keep yourself and your family safe with this outbreak alert app. Created by a team of researchers, epidemiologists and software developers at Boston’s Children’s Hospital, this app will let you know whether there is an outbreak in your area.
Given new threats (like the Zika virus) and those in the not-so-distant past (like Ebola), you’ll want this app’s warnings about potential health threats, culled from various sources including reports from real people, online news, expert outlooks and validated reports from official outlets. Rather than just fear-mongering, the app also provides suggestions for ways to keep your family healthy.
This app is helpful for any sort of emergency, whether a natural disaster or something “manmade,” such as an accident or a crime. Originally designed with hikers, cyclists and outdoor enthusiasts in mind, it lets you set a timer that will trigger an email or text to your emergency contacts if you don’t check in by a designated time.
This could be helpful whether you are out for an early-morning run, are planning a late night out or have to split up from your family during an emergency. Just remember to check in if everything is okay! You don’t want to cause undue worry for your loved ones.
During an Emergency Apps
ICE (In Case of Emergency)
This app places critical information, such as your allergies, medical conditions, emergency contacts and more on the lock screen of your phone to instruct others how on best to help you if you’re in trouble. You can even include a photo of yourself so that any first responders who are helping you can be sure that they’re using the correct information to treat the person in front of them.
If you don’t feel like installing another app, just follow ICE’s short tutorial for displaying this information through your phone’s built-in settings.
The Red Cross’s First Aid app comes with interactive advice on how to handle first aid in a number of medical situations ranging from anaphylactic shock to a broken bone, and disasters ranging from earthquakes to chemical emergencies.
It comes preloaded with content, which means that you don’t need a Wi-Fi or 4G connection to access the first aid information. This could be especially helpful if the power or phone lines go down. The app is also fully integrated with 9-1-1 service, so professional help can be on its way at the push of a button.
The Red Cross makes many other helpful apps, too, including one for pet first aid, one to schedule and track blood donations, and multiple apps to track earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, tornados or wildfires.
Poison Control App
If you’re concerned that you or someone you know has ingested a poisonous substance, this app can help you decide whether you can provide a home remedy or need to get to the doctor ASAP. You simply input the person’s age, height, weight and when they ingested the questionable substance.
FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) App
FEMA’s app can keep you up-to-date on developments during a disaster situation and allow you to access maps and directions to shelters and disaster recovery centers. You can create and share custom lists, such as the items you’ve saved in your emergency kit and family meet-up locations.
You can even use the app to help first responders know what’s going on by contributing to the organization’s Disaster Reporter, a crowd-sourced repository of disaster-related photos charted on a map. In the immediate aftermath of a natural disaster, you can use the app to apply for assistance from the government, as well.
Post-Emergency Recovery Apps
Disaster Recovery Log
After disaster strikes, it’ll be important to document any and all damage for insurance claims or possible government reimbursement. This app will help you take pictures and save them alongside your own voice recordings as you describe the damage you observe. A recent update allows you to compress and save all of your documentation in an Excel file for easy transfer.