The unpredictable nature of disaster situations means that preparation is key when it comes to catastrophes such as snow-ice storms, floods, wild fires, hurricanes and earthquakes. Before you find yourself in the midst of a natural disaster with a full phone charge and limited knowledge of how to manage the situation, download these five smartphone apps to help you be CAT ready to weather the storm.
Why: No more rummaging around in the dark for a flashlight or batteries. This app provides a brighter, clearer light on your smartphone by using an LED camera flash, which is a must-have in case the power goes out during severe weather.
Best feature: The app’s small memory footprint and low battery and CPU consumption means it’s highly optimized for your phone.
Why: One of the top priorities during a natural disaster is finding your loved ones and ensuring their safety. Life360 enables a family or group to set up a private network where users can check in and notify contacts of their location and safety status.
Best feature: For family members without a phone, there is an option to purchase an additional GPS device that works with in conjunction with the app.
For: Android and iOS
Cost: Free; Life360 Premium available for $5 a month
Why: Keep yourself organized before, during and after a disaster with this app, which provides an extensive list of items you’ll need to have on hand during a fire, flood, earthquake, snowstorm or other catastrophe. The app stores all your emergency contact numbers. If you haven’t put together an emergency relief kit yet, StopDisaster will help tremendously.
Best feature: The share functionality allows you to post your lists and kits to Facebook or Twitter, making it easy to keep friends and family informed.
Why: The American Heart Association’s Pocket First Aid & CPR app offers detailed illustrations, articles and videos on how to respond to emergency situations like choking, bites, seizures and injuries such as cuts and wounds. One man survived for more than 64 hours by using the app during the 2010 Haiti earthquake.
Best feature: All content is stored on your phone, so you can provide care even when out of cell service range.
For: Android and iOS
Why: In catastrophe situations, panic and confusion can cause rumors to fly around, leaving some wondering what exactly is going on. Go directly to the source with Scanner Radio, which allows you to listen to audio from more than 4,100 police and fire scanners, weather radios and amateur radio repeaters from around the world on your phone. Plus, if you lose power, you won’t have to worry about missing important updates from TV or standard radio.
Best feature: You can enable notifications when a large number of people are listening to any scanner, indicating that something important is happening.
Cost: Free; Pro version available for $2.99
Crawford helps manage the effects of natural disasters through Catastrophe Services (CAT), one of the insurance industry’s leading independent adjusting resources for claims management in response to natural (and man-made) disasters, and also its Global Technical Services® business, which focuses on large or complex insurance losses. If you’d like to know about what these services include, read more here.
Do you know of any storm or disaster-readiness apps we didn’t mention? Let us know in the comments below.