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The Best Apps for Emergency Preparedness

For many people living in the United States, it appears that ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ storms or other natural disasters seem to be happening every other year. Whether it’s Hurricane Sandy in the North East, devastating tornadoes in the Central Plains, or damaging wildfires in the West, each life-changing event leaves a trail of destruction in its wake and years of rebuilding for shattered communities.

While it’s impossible for any one individual to prevent these natural disasters from occurring, there are plenty of things we can do to better handle the impact of such events. Organizations both large and small have embraced mobile platforms as vital tools for disseminating important information. This includes advice on how to prepare for an emergency, what to do once that emergency arrives, and how to cope with the aftermath.

Here are just a few of the many emergency preparedness apps that are currently available:

Red Cross

Rather than just one app, the Red Cross offers a whole series of apps, including a Hurricane App, a Shelter Finder App, a First Aid App, an Earthquake App, a Wildfire App, and even a Volunteer App. Each app includes emergency notifications; step-by-step instructions on how to prepare your family and your home; how to help friends and neighbors; and hints on how to handle food and water during power outages. There are even interactive quizzes to help you prepare for the real thing.

Platform: iOS, Android
Price: Free


The FEMA app features preparedness information for all different types of disasters, an interactive checklist for emergency kits, and information on how to stay safe and recover after a disaster. There is also information on how to plan an emergency meeting location for family and friends, and a map of FEMA Disaster Recovery Center locations for accessing supplies and emergency aid.

Platform: iOS, Android, BlackBerry
Price: Free

HurricaneSoftware.com’s iHurricane Free

The iHurricane app brings HurricaneSoftware.com’s award winning hurricane tracking software to smartphones and tablets. You can get the latest real-time satellite data, the predicted hurricane path, strike possibilities, wind speeds, and more. iHurricane allows you to track multiple hurricanes at one time, as well as access historical data for past seasons and individual locations.

Platform: iOS, Android
Price: Free

Pocket First Aid & CPR

Developed by the American Heart Association, Pocket First Aid & CPR includes hundreds of pages of instructions on what to do in emergency situations, including dealing with choking, burns, CPR, seizures, diabetic emergencies, and more. A first aid checklist makes sure you have what you need in the event of an emergency, and the emergency contacts screen allows one-click dialing to reach your doctor and other essential services.

Platform: iOS, Android
Price: Free


First responders and others exposed to emergency situations often have to deal with hazardous material. WISER helps those individuals by providing important information about hazardous substances and guidelines on what to do if you come into contact with such material. Various User Profiles allow users to specify what role they are playing at the scene of an incident, so the information presented can be customized to suit the individual.

Platform: iOS, Android, BlackBerry
Price: Free

ICE Standard

Developed by About the Kids Foundation, ICE Standard is an emergency card app, which lists an individual’s complete medical history, emergency contacts, insurance details, blood type, and more. ICE Standard features a unique color-coding plan to quickly allow first responders to determine if there are any serious medical issues. For example, red indicates severe allergies, heart conditions, etc., yellow indicates the individual is taking medication, while green suggests no complications. The ICE Standard is regarded as an excellent back up to a normal emergency medical card.

Platform: iOS, Android
Price: Free

Disaster Alert

The Disaster Alert app is a listing of ‘Active Hazards’ occurring around the globe. By Active Hazards the developers mean current and real-time incidents that could be “potentially hazardous to people, property or assets.” This includes everything from hurricanes, earthquakes, and tsunamis to areas of drought or serious health risk. The app includes alerts, notifications, and interactive maps.

Platform: iOS, Android
Price: Free

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