With the ongoing popularity of smartphones, it only makes sense to download one or more applications (apps) that will enhance your phone’s usefulness in the event of a disaster. Most of today’s smartphones come equipped with GPS capability that can link with other apps. For example I have an app on my phone called iTriage. This app was designed by a team of Emergency Room doctors. It will help in all kinds of on-the-spot emergency medical needs including a listing of nearby medical facilities. When choosing a hospital or trauma center, the GPS will then guide you to medical help. I realize that sounds like a bit of overkill, unless I’m visiting San Francisco and don’t know my way around, then it suddenly becomes very valuable. All that from a free app. (All the apps mentioned in this column are free.)
Another is simply called “First Aid.” It was developed by The American Red Cross and puts expert advice in your hands. This app is available for both iPhone and Android devices and allows instant access to the information you need to handle the most common first aid emergencies. It includes videos, interactive quizzes and simple step-by-step advice.
Yet another app from the Red Cross is titled “Earthquake”. This one leads you through steps of preparation for the big one. Among the many features it sends you automatic notifications when there is a quake along with a directory for shelters in your local area. Another handy feature is that it allows you to send an “I’m safe” message to a pre-selected on-line site such as Facebook, Twitter, email or text message. Instructions and tips for building a survival kit are also included.
Other available applications include weather forecasting (The Weather Channel) ocean and surf advisories (NOAA), and river flood forecasting (also NOAA). There are some apps that provide tide information. Believe it or not, there are some instances in our area when high flood waters block the road, then when the tide goes out, the roads are briefly passable. Good information to have if you need to make that grocery run and are blocked by high water.
Every day it seems there are new applications available . If you shop around, or have an area of particular interest, there is a free app to meet your need. Learn to use the technology we have available to make your disaster preparations fun and productive.