When natural disasters strike, news outlets all over the world cover them so others can empathize with the situations the victims face. You can probably relate to feeling sad and wanting to do anything possible to help. When disasters hit closer to home, it’s crucial to switch into preparedness mode and maximize your chances of staying safe.
Listening to recommendations or orders from local authorities is a good start, which may include buying bottled water, preparing an emergency kit, boarding up your windows and getting ready to potentially evacuate. Those strategies are all helpful, but it’s also worthwhile to take a high-tech approach to disaster readiness by downloading some purposeful apps.
Here are six helpful apps you should download to your phone and familiarize yourself with before an emergency hits.
Even when you take precautions, it’s common for loved ones to get separated during natural disasters. ReUnite is an app for iOS and Android phones that helps people find each other. It’s possible to search for search for lost individuals via the app using text or photo-based queries. You can also set up notifications to receive news about designated missing persons. (Free)
2. SOS QR
If you need help from emergency responders, your condition may not allow you to coherently describe any health conditions you suffer from or details that could impact the treatment decisions others make for you. SOS QR is a health data app for Android and iOS that puts a QR code on your phone screen first responders can scan to learn previously provided information when they arrive.
There’s also a button to press in an emergency that calls and sends messages to designated people on your contact list, allowing them to get help for you. Whenever someone scans your QR code, the individuals you’ve chosen will get data about your location to help them find you. Furthermore, there’s a button you can press to indicate you’re safe and give the people you love some peace of mind. ($7.99)
When it becomes apparent your home may be damaged in a disaster, it’s essential to act beforehand to make a detailed account of your possessions. Having that information available makes it easier to file fast, accurate claims with your insurance company. Available for Android and iOS, Encircle helps you create a complete photo-based inventory of what you own in about an hour or less. (Free)
The ability to share information could become truly life-saving during a natural disaster, which is why Zello is particularly useful. This app for Android and iOS users mimics push-to-talk radios. During some recent hurricanes, downloads of Zello went up by 20 times compared to the previous weeks.
Aside from using the app to talk to people you know, there are numerous public channels you can join to discuss topical content. Specifically to the realm of natural disasters, local authorities have set up Zello channels for people to use to indicate they need assistance. There have also been cases of using these channels to spread information to people who may not be able to get it otherwise. (Free)
Preparing for an impending natural disaster is crucial when you’re at home, but it’s also a step to take if you’re traveling to a destination often characterized by tsunamis, earthquakes or other occurrences. If you know about a disaster in advance, you might consider changing your itinerary to avoid specific activities or canceling the trip altogether.
Disaster Alert is an app for iOS that gives color-coded statistics about reported floods, wildfires and other events that could be dangerous. This free download for your Apple phone also has a premium service that allows you to limit the notifications you receive based on location or severity. (Free)
When people think of the organizations most often involved in disaster recovery efforts, the Red Cross comes to mind. It shouldn’t be surprising, then, that the Red Cross has a dedicated app to inform individuals of what to do in dire circumstances. Compatible with Android and iOS, it offers pre-loaded content that’s accessible even without internet access.
Users can turn on urgent alert notifications associated with their hometowns. This app also provides information about non-weather-related disasters, such as house fires, allowing people to take prompt action and feel more confident when dealing with life-or-death situations. After downloading this information-filled app, you can toggle the language to English or Spanish. Furthermore, the content includes a map that shows weather warnings and disaster shelter locations.
Stay Prepared for Anything
Proper preparedness could be a deciding factor in how you and your loved ones handle emergency situations. These six apps could help you plan and might save your life.