In the past month, the United States and beyond have experienced a rash of natural disasters. From the headline grabbing tragedies of Hurricane Harvey and Irma to the devastating wildfires in the American Northwest. If disaster strikes, you’d be surprised how important your smartphone can become. When the power is out, and you need information or the ability to contact others or even be rescued, there are plenty of apps out there that can help in significant ways. Here is a handful to consider so you’re better prepared for any scenario.
The app that gained the most popularity during the recent hurricanes is Zello. Zello is an app that is used just like a walkie talkie, except it relies on WiFi and cellular service. This allows it to support groups of people in locations where disaster has struck or is about to strike. Zello can be used to coordinate search and rescue efforts and is available in more than twenty languages. Zello was downloaded more than a million times in a day recently and has claimed to have added as many as six million new users.
This app is like a digital emergency card, as ICE stands for “In Case of Emergency.” Emergency responders can check your phone for important information in case they find you unconscious or if you can’t communicate verbally during a crisis. ICE puts your health information on the lock screen of your phone so that first responders can access all your info quickly and easily. It also has a Smart 911 feature that sends your digital emergency card to operators when you call 911.
If you’re in the path of a hurricane or wildfire, you can’t always prioritize sending messages to friends and family about your safety status. Google Trusted Contacts automatically shares your phone’s status to your loved ones as long as your phone is on and moving. Contacts can check the app and make sure you’re okay instantly. And it can even share your location if your phone is out of battery when linked friends ping your account using the service.
These apps from trusted organizations FEMA and The Red Cross as great tools to keep on your smartphone. The FEMA app provides alerts from the National Weather Service, safety reminders, tips, and procedures, and the ability to locate open shelters if you need to find a place to take cover. The Red Cross has a suite of different apps specific to emergency situations, each equipped with severe weather and emergency alerts, first aid, and even an app that is for the first aid of your pets during a crisis.
And speaking of your pets, Pawboost is a great app to turn to in situations like this as well. When a pet is missing, Pawboost can alert local members of the Rescue Squad by email and post to a PawBoost Facebook page specific to your area. An app like this is a great tool to help owners reunite with their pets after an emergency event.