While the ability to contact someone in the event of an emergency has always been part of a cell phone’s appeal, today’s technological advances have allowed mobile devices to evolve far beyond simply making and receiving phone calls. With the power of the iPhone backed by the talents of the many developers whose products fill the App Store, you now have unprecedented access to emergency assistance, information and alerts through your cell phone. These 10 apps are among the best for ensuring that you’re prepared for any emergency, and are wise investments to make.
- Pocket First Aid & CPR from the American Heart Association – If you live or work with children, there’s a chance that you will one day be faced with the need to intervene due to a choking incident. With this $1.99 American Heart Association-approved app, you can access accurate life-saving information about how to best proceed in the event of choking, drowning or a cardiac episode.
- Emergency Survival Handbook – The free version of the Emergency Survival Handbook for iPhone is packed with important information on a variety of subjects ranging from earthquakes to hazardous household chemical exposure. From general preparedness for smaller, everyday urgent situations to catastrophic events, this app touches on everything and will leave you better equipped to face any situation.
- Intellicast HD – As one of the most advanced weather applications in the App Store, the free Intellicast HD app offers a variety of tools for staying apprised of weather-related risks and knowing when a severe storm is approaching “natural disaster” status. Push alert notifications will also give you real-time warnings from the National Weather Service, so you’ll never be caught unaware by an escalating storm.
- ICE (In Case of Emergency) – Keeping your emergency contact and medical information at the tips of your fingers is simple with this free app, which will allow you to store one emergency contact and your driver’s license with the lite version. Higher functionality and more features accompany a purchase of the full, paid version.
- American Red Cross: Shelter View – Should a natural disaster or catastrophic event leave you and your family in need of emergency shelter, this free app will let you know when new shelters are opened and where they’re located in order to facilitate the quickest possible move to safety. Offered by the Red Cross and functional across the United States, this is one free app you’ll definitely wish you had should you find yourself in need of shelter and assistance.
- iMPrepared – Within the free download of iMPrepared, you’ll get a flashlight, compass, S.O.S signal and access to disaster RSS feeds. Recording relevant contact numbers and medical information will also help you to create a full family preparedness plan in advance, so that you never find yourself in need of such information when every moment counts.
- POM Alert – POM stands for “peace of mind,” which is something that this $0.99 app offers in spades. Location-based alerts and real-time notifications keep you informed of any essential public alerts that are issued, including severe weather, disease control and Homeland Security information.
- ubAlert – Disaster Alert Network – When disaster strikes, getting relevant information can be difficult. This free app allows you to connect with others in your area and around the world to access reports and event details, ensuring that you’re able to determine the best way to proceed and supplementing the existing emergency alert and information systems.
- ELERTS – Whether the emergency in your area is a natural disaster or the result of human action, the free ELERTS app will keep you up to date so that you don’t inadvertently wander into dangerous territory. People on the streets in your area can take pictures to warn others around them of an emergency event, potentially saving lives in the process.
- FEMA – The official iPhone app of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, FEMA is free of charge and contains preparedness information for various potential situations, emergency kits, safety tips and an interactive checklist. After a major emergency, you can also access maps with the locations of FMA Disaster Recovery Centers around you.
Your iPhone may be one of the most powerful devices on the market, but it’s still dependent upon a battery for functionality. It’s wise to invest in portable solar chargers, extra batteries and other power supply alternatives to keep your phone charged and ready to use in the event of power failures and extended outages.