Is it possible for a disaster app on your smartphone to warn you about an earthquake before it happens?
The April 5th, 2018 5.3 magnitude Los Angeles quake is proof of that possibility. Those who had signed up for the Quake Alert disaster app reported a warning thirty seconds before the shaking started. Likewise, early warning systems warned Mexico residents sixty seconds before the 8-magnitude earthquake last September. The science may not be perfect yet, but these warnings could prevent some injuries and give first-responders an edge.
Every Disaster App You Need for Before, During, and After the Quake.
There are dozens of natural disaster apps out there to help you in a bind or warn you about dangers. You’ll need at least a few basics in your pocket if you live in earthquake country. Take your preparedness to the next step with this list of apps that you’ll be glad to have:
Yes, Facebook is definitely somewhere to get your fill of cat videos, the latest news (real or fake), and relatable memes, but it’s also an excellent app to have after an emergency. Facebook has a Safety Check feature so that you can let your loved ones know that you’re safe after an earthquake or another natural disaster. The app will even send a push notification to remind you about this Safety Check feature based on your GPS location. As soon as you’re safe, be sure to mark yourself safe in the app.
If Facebook isn’t your thing, Nextdoor is another great social media app that can help you after a disaster. Nextdoor is an online community for your neighborhood and surroundings. Officials use Nextdoor to quickly communicate crucial information to their community. You can expect to see messages from policy, sheriff’s offices, and first responders in this app. Likewise, Twitter has been used as a communication platform for emergencies.
An incredibly valuable app, ReUnite does just that–it helps you to reunite with loved ones if you are separated from them during a natural disaster. You can report lost or found people with a photo and their information with a few simple steps.
First Aid by American Red Cross
The Red Cross has developed a few apps that are great to have on hand for emergencies. One of these apps is First Aid is an absolute necessity. It gives you simple step-by-step directions on first aid response for any medical emergency, and this is crucial guidance if you live in a disaster-prone area. If there’s one disaster app you should have, it’s this one.
Ice Standard ER 911
ICE Standard ER 911 puts all your vital health and medical information on your smartphone’s lock screen. First responders can use this information even if you’re too injured to answer these questions for yourself. Some phones have this capability built into the operating software, such as the Apple “Health” app, so make sure your health profile is completed if you decide to skip on this third-party disaster app.
Pet First Aid
Let’s not forget about our furry companions! For pet owners, a mobile app that gives step-by-step instructions on how to tackle 25 common pet problems is a huge help. This app provides directions through text, video, and images, and can even locate the nearest emergency vet hospital.
This app by the Pacific Disaster Center gives you mobile access to monitoring of natural disasters and other hazards. It also has early warning capability for hazards around the globe.
This emergency app can give first responders information on your whereabouts much faster than dialing for 911 assistance. If your community uses Siren 911, emergency crews will get updates on your location, profile details, and medical information–all at the touch of one button.
Red Panic Button
This app is a fantastic addition to your smartphone, whether or not you live in an earthquake-prone area. Essentially, this app generates a message or email containing your GPS-determined coordinates to a designated panic number of your choice. Backpackers, travel-enthusiasts, and earthquake preppers alike will all be thankful to have this function added to their tools.
My Earthquake Alerts & Feed
This free earthquake disaster app provides earthquake alerts for around the world events. These alerts include earthquakes of 1.0 and up in the United States and 4.0 and up outside of the United States.
After an earthquake or catastrophe, you’ll likely have quite a few people needing to know where you are and when you’ve gotten to safety. Once the dust has settled and you’re on your way to safety, this disaster app will track your movements and automatically send updates to your selected contacts list to let others know when you’ve arrived at your intended evacuation destination.
This disaster app allows you to use your phone as a two-way radio or walkie-talkie. You can join channels and send instant voice messages or photos using your phone’s network or WiFi connection–even with an older 2G network connection. For more information on how this app works, Business Insider provides this tour of the Zello interface and how to use it.
This may be a small detail, but it’s a pretty big deal after an emergency event. You won’t be able to evacuate if you can’t find any gas to put in your car. GasBuddy helps you to locate the closest working gas pump.
FEMA Disaster App
FEMA has developed a handy disaster app that is a valuable resource after a crisis. This mobile-friendly (and free!) guide will help you find relief centers near you with access to services, shelter, and other resources for victims of earthquakes, hurricanes, and other natural disasters.
Earthquake App by the American Red Cross
The Red Cross earthquake app is like the Swiss Army knife of earthquake applications. It includes step-by-step directions on what to do during and after an earthquake. Even better, these directions are available for offline use so you won’t need an internet connection to get this info at your fingertips. It also connects with the USGS earthquake alert feed to notify you if an earthquake strikes nearby. Finally, there is a safety alert feature built in that shares a message to social media and through email and text to let others know that you’re safe.
Disaster Apps are Essential to Modern-Day Earthquake Preparedness.
First responders are limited in their resources after an earthquake or another natural disaster. Smartphone technology makes it easier for them to connect with the community. When you consider your earthquake preparedness strategy, remember to include these apps as some helpful (and portable) tools in your emergency kit.