Not to be overly dramatic, but a disaster can happen at any time. Disasters are devastating, life-changing, and traumatic, and no human can predict when one will occur. Even with all our modern technology, all we can do is take the necessary precautions to be safe.
Android developers have wisely taken advantage of their technological know-how to create disaster preparedness apps. Though these apps are only able to do so much physically, they connect people to the correct resources so they may better make decisions about survival throughout all stages of a disaster: before, during, and after.
Best Disaster Preparedness Apps
Having an evacuation plan, safe sheltering, keeping emergency kits at hand, and avoiding unnecessary risks are but some of the traditional methods recommended for disaster prep and control. Your smartphone exponentially increases the effectiveness of these tactics. Here are some of the best disaster preparedness apps for Android users.
Before the Disaster
This mobile phone app keeps you informed of the threat levels of possible cyclones, tsunamis, and floods. It is color-coded by how dangerous the impending disaster is, in either a list or Google map backdrop. Once installed, this app provides frequent alerts no matter where you may be.
The MyRadar Weather Radar is an affordable, powerful, and reliable weather app that displays high-res, animated weather radar around your location. These displays are in real-time and warn you about possible hurricanes and temperature advisories. It also includes a current satellite image of your area’s cloud cover to check if there’s impending heavy rainfall. Through push notifications, the app alerts you about impending thunderstorms, hurricanes, and tornadoes.
The American Red Cross-developed application provides you with invaluable, life-saving tips, and instructions on how to cope and survive everyday emergencies and natural disasters.
If caught in an emergency, with no expert in first aid and no manual at hand, relax and open this app. It will show you what to do, what not to do, and how to react in such a situation. It is very organized, with helpful diagrams and content. It also uses straightforward language, so you don’t have to be a medical practitioner to understand the instructions.
Ever wondered about what could happen if the storm hit and you fell unconscious? Since you are more than likely to have your phone on you, this application was designed to help you when you cannot respond. The ICE Medical Standard App creates a notification visible on your lock screen, which contains all your required health information and emergency medical contacts. Even if you have a password-protected phone, first responders will have access to this medical information and can use it to save your life.
During the Disaster
When Hurrican Irma ripped through the Caribbean towards Florida, the Zello Walkie Talkie app was in indispensable tool. Volunteers used it to coordinate rescue operations successfully. With the app, you can turn your Android phone or tablet into a walkie talkie. It gives you the freedom to send voice notes and photos for free, even over weak 2G networks. Given that disasters usually result in downed internet connections and weak mobile connections, this feature is a literal lifesaver.
With floodwaters at five feet high, a family in Florida abandoned their possessions and struggled to get to the top of their roof during Hurricane Irma. Unable to reach first responders through 911, they opted to call for help using Nextdoor. In less than an hour, a neighbor arrived with a canoe to help them out.
The Nextdoor app is a neighborhood hub that supports trusted connections to exchange information on goods and services, among other happenings in the neighborhood. It makes it possible to share online, the kind of information you would share with your neighbor in person. But first, each neighbor must verify his/her address in the neighborhood and use their real name.
Nextdoor is used in police departments in different parts of the world. This helps them post and spread information about mandatory evacuation orders, lists of open shelters, links to flood maps, instructions on how to connect with first responders faster, and other helpful information.
Facebook Safety Check
When a disaster strikes, even if it’s in the next town over, we all happen to have someone worried about our well-being. It could be a friend, partner, relative, etc. In times of disaster, communication can be challenging and responding to, “Are you okay,” ten times over, is not always the first thing on your mind. To avoid this, mark yourself “safe” on Facebook. Your friends will receive this notification, thus easing their concern.
After the Disaster
A gas explosion has occurred in your region, or maybe there have been floods in your area, and you’ve been lucky to survive. What’s next? It could be possible that you’ve experienced a considerable amount of loss and are still in shock. FEMA, or the Federal Emergency Management Agency, developed an app on Android to help you locate local relief centers so that you can access critical services needed. It also allows members of the public to post pictures that might be helpful to first responders. This helps first responders take the proper precautionary measures.
Just as the name suggests, ReUnite is an app made to help you get back together with your loved ones should a separation occur after a disaster. It is only activated after a disaster occurs. It enables you to report a lost and found person by uploading their photo and a small description of them. But humans aren’t the only thing the app reunites. Should you become separated from your pet, you can search for them here.
Your smartphone gets a bad rep for being a wasteland of mindless games and Snapchat and TikTok stories, but it can play a vital role in keeping you safe. If you live in a disaster-prone area, you should look into anything that will help you survive and overcome the loss of a disaster. Just reach into your pocket and take out your Android device; help is just an app away.