No one expects to find themselves in a natural disaster or other emergency situation, but in the unfortunate and unlikely event that you do, your smartphone might actually be your greatest survival asset. Here’s a list of 5 apps that you want to download before the next earthquake, flood, fire, or current end-of-world favorite, zombie apocalypse.
Ignorance often kills more people in the aftermath of a tragedy or crisis than the more obvious effects of the event itself. The safe bet is to prepare yourself by keeping your CPR certification up to date, and maybe even brushing up your first aid training from time to time. In a pinch though, this app will answer any immediately pressing medical questions that you might have. Sure, you could probably find all this information through a basic Google search, but who has time for that!? Even if you have the opportunity to do an internet search for symptoms or international emergency numbers, nothing guarantees that you’ll have those 4G speeds that you’ve gotten comfortable with in your cushy pre-crisis life. The Emergency First Aid Guide stores all of its data locally on your device which makes it accessible whether or not the cell tower nearest you is functional.
Any self-respecting survivalist has an emergency kit containing a flashlight, compass, and radio. This app is the digital version of that kit. While it does not contain cloud-based emergency ration storage, it does have several different signal lights, quick access to emergency numbers (fire, police, and medical) from around the world. The Emergency Tools App can take charge of your camera’s flash to send an SOS, and your GPS to give you a simple compass. While there are some bugs, this is one of only two free apps on the list of lifesavers.
Pick your disaster, this app will tell you how you should act. Containing information on over fifty topics, this app gives quick information on best practices during various disasters with chapters like “Hurricane – Getting Ready” or “Chemical Emergencies – Evacuation”. Use this app to answer legitimate questions or use it to jumpstart your next game of “Worst Case Scenario”. It’s up to you.
The National Terrorism Advisory System (NTAS) is gradually taking over for the Department of Homeland Security in notifying the public of current likelihood of terrorist attacks. Oddly, The Disaster Readiness app is still operating on the old, color-coded system until the changeover is complete.
You can use all of the other apps to find out what to do if there is a disaster, but how do you know when there is one happening near you? Enter: Disaster Alert. The Disaster Alert App monitors active hazards via “authoritative sources” and displays them through an interactive map. The term “Active Hazards” refers to events in progress that are potentially dangerous to people, property or assets. Monitored disasters include: Tsunami, Volcano, Flood, Earthquake, Wildfire and even High Surf warnings. The app allows you to search locally, so you can find out how close the danger might be to you, though there is no notification service built into the app at this time.
The iSOS app does many of the same things that the other listed applications were designed to do. It has quick access to useful emergency numbers such as fire, domestic violence, and healthcare. It also offers symptom search, offering information for the best course of first aid action in a variety of situations. It does a quick point of interest search for things like doctors, pharmacies, hospitals, and even defibrillators. Most of this is pretty run-of-the mill; however, iSOS has one more feature that makes it particularly helpful for parents with children. It offers an instant SOS feature that allows the user to send a pre-written emergency message to a pre-selected contact such as a parent or spouse. This message can be delivered by phone, SMS, email, or even Facebook. This feature is a great safety measure for children or pre-teens that are beginning to venture out on their own. Parents can be assured that their children have an instant way to contact them should trouble ever arise.