It’s tornado season once again and time to prepare for what could come. In addition to backup and disaster recovery software, there are other really neat software tools you can use to track storms during the season. Knowing where weather events are happening is vital to keeping yourself and your family safe and luckily there are a handful of phone and tablet apps that can help you do it. With a little help from an article by Heather Kelly of CNN, let’s take a look at some awesome apps that will help you plan for the worst.
Remember to use these apps sparingly, your smart phone might be your only connection to friends, loved ones, or the authorities. You might not be able to charge it in an emergency.
Note: This article focuses on iOS and Android apps, but there are many similar apps available for Windows Phone in the Windows Phone app store.
NOAA Weather Radio HD
This National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) app gives you features like streaming of NOAA broadcasts, push weather alerts, weather data from the National Weather Center and more. This app is useful in that you can set up push notification and alerts let you know when severe weather is coming your way. You can even look at zoomable radar images to see for yourself what’s headed your way. Available on iOS, similar weather radio apps are also available on Android.
Tornado App by American Red Cross
This app is designed to help you before and after a tornado. It can walk you through what you need to do before a tornado and directly after in order to keep your family safe, and it’s even equipped with historical information on tornadoes in your area. You can also use it to send alerts through social media to inform others that you’re safe and find Red Cross shelters following an incident.
It’s also worth noting that the American Red Cross has developed similar apps for other types of disaster such as hurricanes, earthquakes, and wildfires. It’s beneficial to have apps corresponding to threats your area is likely to face. Available for iOS and Android.
First Aid by American Red Cross
First aid is very useful for everybody to know. It’s critical to think about how you’ll handle situations that involve injuries. This app is useful to have for not only emergencies, but everyday reference as well. When disaster does strike, people are more likely to be injured and you can be prepared to help them. The First Aid app provides step-by-step instructions and even videos for things like how to treat injuries, shock, and even heart attacks. Available for Android and iOS.
It may seem silly to think of Facebook as a disaster preparedness tool, but social media is a very useful way to let your friends and family know that you’re safe and sound in an emergency. Letting people in your personal network know that all is well or that you require assistance can be quite helpful for you and can also put worried loved ones at ease. Available for iOS and Android.
Army Survival Guide
While it’s unlikely that a disaster will put you in a dire enough situation to require a field survival guide, you can always benefit from the ingenuity and skills written inside such manuals. The army has an awful lot of experience with survival and it’s all right here in this guide. Of course, if it really came down to it, a tablet battery won’t last you long in a survival scenario, so you might benefit the most from having a physical copy of this guide as well. Available for iOS and Android devices.
Local weather apps
Many areas that commonly experience severe weather have local television stations with weather apps. Here in Salt Lake City, for example, several of our local news channels have free and useful weather apps that focus on local-area weather. Many local weather apps have live radar and are constantly updated. The better you can inform yourself about what’s going on, the better chance you have of dealing with issues that arise. Look in the app store or on local news station websites to see if they offer apps for Android or iOS.