5 Must-Have Disaster Apps

NEW YORK (MainStreet)—From severe weather emergencies like twisters that ravaged Oklahoma yesterday to Black Swan disasters, it seems our world is filled with threats. With a smartphone in hand, we can be better prepared when bad things happen and work more efficiently to make the best of the situation.

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First Aid App

This app, provided by the American Red Cross, gives you step-by-step instructions in order to provide emergency first aid. Videos, interactive quizzes and how-to guides are preloaded for instant access, without requiring an Internet connection or cell service. The app is also fully integrated with 911 so that you can call emergency medical services. Plan-ahead safety tips are included for severe weather situations, including tornadoes, hurricanes and earthquakes.

Lost Person Finder

For post-disaster assistance, this web service and associated ReUnite app enables you to report and search for found or missing persons. Integrated with the U.S. National Library of Medicine's People Locator website, the searchable database is updated with the latest disasters to assist in the location of missing people. Data is gathered from citizens, disaster relief organizations, hospitals, triage areas and social networks. The service also posts pictures and other information on missing persons on monitors placed at key disaster-adjacent public locations.

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iMap Weather Radio

Automatically pinpointing your location, the iMap Weather Radio will provide instant notification of severe weather alerts wherever you go. Powered by the National Weather Service's NOAA Weather Radio, you can listen to severe weather updates, as well as local weather forecasts. Customized alerts are triggered by the service, and the "follow me" feature constantly updates your location, providing relevant weather information. You can also save five fixed locations to keep tabs on friends and family in other areas. When severe weather triggers the app, you hear a series of beeps and an audio description of the weather emergency. Streaming video of severe weather coverage is also available in markets that include local media partners.