September is National Preparedness Month – here’s one simple thing you can do: Download some free apps for your phone so that if you find yourself in an emergency, you are ready. Pass them along to your family members too, so you can all be informed. Here are a few suggestions.
The free FEMA app
The free FEMA app is a must. One great new feature is that you can get weather alerts from the National Weather Service for up to five locations across the nation. That allows you to follow severe weather alerts for friends and family located anywhere in the country – even if your phone is not located in the area. The app is available in English but it will default to Spanish if those who have set that as the default language. It can be downloaded from the App Store for Apple devices and Google Play for Android devices.
The new weather alert feature adds to the app’s existing features: a customizable checklist of emergency supplies, maps of open shelters and Disaster Recovery Centers, and tips on how to survive natural and man-made disasters.
Some other key features of the app include:
- Safety Tips: Tips on how to stay safe before, during, and after over 20 types of hazards, including floods, hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes
- Disaster Reporter: Users can upload and share photos of damage and recovery efforts
- Maps of Disaster Resources: Users can locate and receive driving directions to open shelters and disaster recovery centers
- Apply for Assistance: The app provides easy access to apply for federal disaster assistance
Red Cross has an excellent suite of free emergency apps:
First Aid – Get instant access to information on handling the most common first aid emergencies.
Pet First Aid – Be prepared to help your furry friends with veterinary advice for everyday emergencies.
Blood – Schedule blood donation appointments, track total donations and earn rewards as you help us meet the constant need for blood.
They also have emergency apps for tornado, hurricane, wildfire, flood, earthquake and general emergencies, along with a few apps for kids.
For more than 50 years, NORAD and its predecessor, the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) have tracked Santa’s flight. They deploy the latest technologies to track Santa, including radar, satellites SantaCams and jet fighters.
You can visit NORAD’s website to download the Santa app to track his progress via a countdown clock, explore Santa’s village in the North Pole, play games and more.
When asked about what route Santa travels, NORAD says, “Santa usually starts at the International Date Line in the Pacific Ocean and travels west. So, historically, Santa visits the South Pacific first, then New Zealand and Australia. After that, he shoots up to Japan, over to Asia, across to Africa, then onto Western Europe, Canada, the United States, Mexico and Central and South America. Keep in mind, Santa’s route can be affected by weather, so it’s really unpredictable. NORAD coordinates with Santa’s Elf Launch Staff to confirm his launch time, but from that point on, Santa calls the shots. We just track him!”
Here in New England, tornadoes aren’t the norm — but we do have occurrences, as was seen in Revere this week, along with several other sightings. There have been 162 tornadoes in Massachusetts alone since 1950, according to the National Weather Service – Boston.com has a roundup of Tornadoes of Massachusetts Past. Springfield is still recovering from the June 1, 2011 tornado, in which three were killed. And the older crowd among us may recall the horrific tornado in Worcester in 1953, which killed 93. Wikipedia has a historical roundup of Tornadoes in New England
With the rarity of events, tornadoes are not top of mind awareness for people when bad weather looms. Get the free Red Cross Tornado app to have everything you need to know to prepare for a tornado in the palm of your hand. To download: text “GETNADO” to 90999 or search “Red Cross Tornado” in the Apple App Store or Google Play.
Some of the app features include:
- Step-by-step instructions to help you know what-to-do even if the cell towers and TVs are down. Prioritized actions for before, during, and after requires no mobile connectivity.
- Audible siren that automatically goes off even if app is closed when NOAA issues a TORNADO WARNING helping to reduce the chance of sleeping through an actual warning.
- Push notification sent when a WARNING expires – especially important if power goes out while you or your family are in your safe room.
- Info on how to assemble an emergency kit for your family in the event of power outage or evacuation and how to make an emergency plan.
- Info on the difference between a tornado warning and a tornado alert.
- Red Cross location-based open shelters map for when you need it most.
- Learn how to deal with food and water impacted by floods and power outages.
- Let others know where you are with the Toolkit’s strobe light, flashlight and audible alert functions.
If you had to evacuate your home in the next hour or two, would you know what to do? An hour or two gives you a bit of a head start – often, people caught in emergencies have less time to prepare than that. September is National Preparedness Month – during the month, we’ll offer a few suggestions for preparing for the unexpected. Today, we’ll highlight a few apps that might help in the event of an emergency.
The FEMA App (smartphone app for mobile devices) contains disaster safety tips, an interactive emergency kit list, emergency meeting location information, and a map with open shelters and open FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs). Also has Disaster Reporter feature allowing you to take and submit GPS photo reports of disasters so they can be displayed on a public map for others to view.
The Insurance Information Institute has a few apps that will help you to prepare, too. Know your Plan offers preloaded checklists to learn about important mitigation and preparation steps, or create your own lists from scratch. You can set due dates, chart your progress, and include notes with your tasks, and share your checklists with family and friends. Get organized now so you can be ready for what may come. III also offers Know Your Stuff, a home inventory app that allows you to keep room-by-room list and keep photos of your possessions.
Red Cross has a great suite of free emergency apps. These include apps for weather related disasters such as tornadoes, earthquakes, hurricanes, and wildfires , with state-by-state news, tips, and more. They also have apps for first aid and finding shelter in an emergency.
Pocket First Aid and CPR from the American Heart Association offers quick, concise and clear first aid and CPR instructions from a user’s smartphone that can help a user save a life in the event of an emergency. This is the same app that helped save a life in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake. Read the incredible story of Dan Woolley, who survived 65 hours under rubble by using this application
The Insurance Information Institute has released a “Know Your Coverage” iPhone App. Below, find a screen shot and the app’s description from the download site.
“Do you have the right insurance coverage if your home and belongings are damaged or destroyed by a fire, flood, earthquake, or other catastrophe? Getting the peace of mind that comes with insurance isn’t rocket science; it’s about knowing your stuff, knowing the risks involved and understanding your priorities. The Know Your Coverage app features interactive quizzes that guide you through key questions to discuss with your Insurance Professional. Together, you can work out a coverage plan for your needs and budget. But it’s not just about stuff… with the right amount and type of insurance, you can focus on what really matters–your work, family, friends and hobbies–without having to worry about the “what-ifs” in life.”
This is one in a series of “Know Your X” apps … find other apps from the Insurance Information Institute – get a home inventory app called “Know Your Stuff” and a disaster planning app called “Know Your Plan.”