Top Five Natural Disaster Apps

Whether they are hurricanes, earthquakes, floods or fires, no one in the United Statesis safe from natural disasters. The recent disaster in New Jerseyand New Yorkcaused by Hurricane Sandy has reminded many individuals about the power of mobile computing in emergency situations. Several apps are available for both Android and Apple devices that could save the lives of you and your family in a natural disaster. By installing them now, you can be prepared when unexpected disaster strikes.

1. WebMD

Android: version 3.4, updated August 15, 2012, free
iTunes: version 3.3, July 12, 2011, free

The WebMD mobile application for Android and Apple is a free app that can help you make important medical decisions in times of crisis. The app includes four primary features: a symptoms checker, a database of drugs and treatments, first aid instructions and a health facility locator.

The symptoms checker from WebMD allows you to select a body part and enter the symptoms being experienced. Possible medical conditions are then listed that may aid in treatment. The database of drugs and treatments includes a pill identification tool and extensive information about most drugs currently on the market. First Aid Essentials by WebMD is an invaluable guide for handling medical emergencies and can be used without a data connection. Finally, the local health listings feature helps you find physicians, clinics or hospitals that are nearby by providing addresses, maps and directions.

Smart Phone

2. First Aid by American Red Cross

Android: version 1.3, updated August 17, 2012, free
iTunes: version 1.0.3, updated August 23, 2012, free

First Aid by American Red Cross is only one of the applications in the Red Cross suite of mobile apps. Other offerings include Red Cross Hurricane, Red Cross Earthquake, Red Cross Wildfire, and Red Cross Shelter Finder. All of the Red Cross apps are free and available for both Android and Apple mobile devices.

The Red Cross First Aid app gives you access to one of the most comprehensive databases of first aid advice and instructions. The information is made available in several formats, including easy-to-follow, step-by-step text instructions. To take any confusion out of the steps, the app also provides animations and videos. In addition to the instructional first aid feature, this app also provides an array of safety tips that are helpful in any type of natural disaster. All of the content is preloaded, so it is always available whether you have a mobile signal or not.

3. Flashlight

Android: version 1.1.8, updated September 30, 2012, free
iTunes: version 6.0, updated September 20, 2012, free

Flashlight, developed by John Haney Software, is the most popular and most powerful flashlight app available today. When the electricity goes out and no candles can be found, your mobile device and this app can help you find your way, and it gives you several features for your LED light that are not included in your base operating system software.

To help you see in the dark, Flashlight turns your screen completely white and sets the display to its brightest. Other full-screen colors are also available, including red, green and blue. If the display is too bright or not bright enough, it can be adjusted by sliding or flicking the screen up or down. Special effects for the LED light can also help rescuers find you from afar or in the dark. LED strobe effects are available in several modes, such as S.O.S., smooth, multicolor and trippy.

4. Red Panic Button

Android: version 3.0.15, updated June 27, 2012, free
iTunes: version 1.3.0, updated October 26, 2012, $2.99

Red Panic Button by Ultimate Communication Software Ltd. can be a real lifesaver in emergency situations. If you need help and have no time to spare, all you have to do is tap the giant red button on the screen of your mobile device. Pushing the button sends an alert to a pre-designated party through an SMS text message. The message includes your name, address and current location based on your phone’s GPS sensor or GSM coordinates. Multiple parties may be entered just in case your first choice does not respond. The app also integrates with Facebook and Twitter, which makes it available without having to jump from one app to another.

5. Disaster Alert

Android: version 2.1, updated October 8, 2012, free
iTunes: version 2.20, updated October 14, 2012, free

Disaster Alert by Pacific Disaster Center (PDC) provides users of Android or Apple mobile devices with an interactive map of active hazards that are occurring around the world. Informational reports are available for all of the hazards, and they can be viewed or shared with others. The hazards are compiled from a number of authoritative sources and include hurricanes, droughts, earthquakes, floods, storms, wildfires and many others. If you are inHawaii, several observational reports are also available, such as surf and wind information from the National Weather Service.

-Guest post provided by Brandon Serna on behalf of Complex


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