Smartphone Apps That Help You Weather Storms and Disasters

Cellphone chargers and extra batteries should already be part of your disaster preparedness kit. If severe weather or a disaster ever affects you, having one or more of these apps on your phone could make a critical difference.  Many are free and some will cost you a dollar or two — a small price to pay for some peace of mind.

Disaster preparedness: Build an emergency kit, assemble key documents, store emergency phone numbers and get preparedness checklists for hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, blizzards and other disasters with StopDisaster for the iPhone
($1.99 iPhome app) and Disaster Readiness ($1.29 Android app)

Access to police scanners: Find out what’s really going on with apps that let you listen in on police band radio.  5-0 Radio Police Scanner Lite (free iPhone
app) and Scanner Radio (free Android app) let you monitor official channels.

Flashlight: You never know when you’ll have to find your way in the dark. Apps like  Flashlight by Rik for iPhone
Brightest Flashlight Free turn your phone into a bright flashlight that could be invaluable during an emergency.

Document backup: Dropbox (free app for iPhones and Android) is a cloud storage app that lets you access important documents on your smartphone. Once you install the program on your computer, you can upload  scans of  insurance papers, medical records, and other vital information to your folder, then access them on your phone.

Other handy apps: American Red Cross: Shelter View (free iPhone app) helps you find the nearest shelter, GasBuddy (free Android and iPhone app) displays current gas prices nearby and Hands-Only CPR (free Android and iPhone app) from the American Heart Association has videos and step-by-step instructions for administering hands-only CPR to an adult victim of cardiac arrest. The AHA also offers  Pocket First Aid & CPR , a $1.99 app with CPR info plus first aid advice .

Tip: To keep your phone charged during an emergency, you may want to buy a hand-crank phone charger or a few backup battery chargers that you can charge beforehand. Follow these tips for how to make your cell phone’s battery last longer.

Be sure to read our blog post on  how to build a disaster supply kit. Have you ever had to evacuate or deal with an emergency severe weather situation? What were you thankful to have with you during that time? Tell us about it in the comments below!

Thanks Flickr user closari