5 Emergency Apps Everyone Should Have On Their Phone
Your smartphone can be a lifesaver if you load it up with the right apps
When you think about lifesaving tools, your smartphone might not be very high on the list. But there are a range of apps for your phone that can come in handy — and quite possibly save your life or someone else’s — in case of an emergency. Think about downloading these five and storing them in a folder on your phone called “Emergency” so you’ll know exactly where to find them if the need arises.
If there’s one organization that knows about emergencies, it’s the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). They’ve put a lot of what they’ve learned from years of dealing with disasters across the country in this free app for iPhone, Android and Blackberry.
The app provides a virtual encyclopedia about different disasters ranging from drought to winter storms. It has information about creating your own in-home emergency kit, links and info on how to apply for assistance after a disaster, plus the locations of nearby shelters and disaster recovery centers — as well as tips to help you recover after disaster strikes. You also can share photos of disaster areas through the app to help FEMA better understand what’s happening.
First Aid from the American Red Cross
Another agency that knows what to do in an emergency is the American Red Cross. Their free app for Android and iOS devices arms you with the information you need to perform basic first aid if you or someone in your family is sick or injured.
Navigate to the “Emergency” tab at the top and you’ll see a list of possible conditions needing attention like asthma, choking, diabetic emergencies and heat stroke. Click on the one that applies and you get simple, practical, step-by-step actions you can take to help — many with a brief accompanying video.
The app also has a hospital feature that shows the nearest trauma centers to your location and lets you call them with a simple tap.
This app could add valuable minutes to the treatment you receive from first responders. It consists of a single page in which you fill out your name and address, gender, birthdate, the names and numbers of your emergency contacts, medications you’re taking, allergies, medical conditions, blood type and insurance information. There’s also a field when you can include any other information you’d like medical personnel to know about you.
The app was developed by the About the Kids Foundation organization, which also allows you to order paper versions of a medical card. As they mention, in case your phone is dead, not with you or damaged at the time of an accident, it’s a good idea to have a paper record with the same information contained in the app.
Pet First Aid
Emergencies don’t always involve your human friends and family members — sometimes they affect the four-legged critters in your life. In those unfortunate moments, the Red Cross comes to the aid again with this app that helps you deal with everything from breathing problems to wounds. Two tabs at the top let you switch between dog and cat, and each entry has a handy link that leads you to information on how to perform CPR on your furry friend.
A section called “Know What’s Normal” helps you know what to expect from your pet when he’s healthy and how to recognize when he might be in danger. Plus, the ABCs section will teach you about the three basic measurements used to evaluate any pet’s condition: airway, breathing and circulation.
U.S. Army Survival Manual
This one falls into the “unlikely” category of apps for emergencies but still, if you’re out hiking and get lost or stranded, it could mean the difference between life and death. It’s the entire text from the U.S. Army’s Survival Manual, which was designed to help soldiers handle a variety of dire situations. Chapters include topics like the psychology of survival, shelters, poisonous plants, making a fire and cold weather survival.
The app downloads the entire book to your smartphone so there’s no Internet connection needed — which, if you’re in need of this app, you likely won’t have anyway.
If you’re interested in survivalism, it’s a great app to read through when you have the time — there’s no need to wait for an emergency to brush up on the wisdom it contains.