Apps to Help Prepare for Hurricane Sandy (update)

UPDATE: The National Weather Service says Hurricane Sandy is currently moving parallel to the East Coast and expected to turn toward the Northwest on Monday. As families and business prepare for the storm, there are numerous apps for smartphones and tablets to help stay informed. The article below contains helpful apps from FEMA, the American Red Cross and others.

Hurricanes, wildfires, blizzards – natural disasters are among the many emergencies Americans face every year. While individuals often cannot predict when a crisis will occur, there are steps they can take to be prepared for when disaster strikes.

September is National Preparedness Month, so it’s a great time for smartphone owners to take a few minutes to download apps to help them plan ahead.

As part of its mission to help citizens respond to and mitigate a variety of emergencies, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has created an all-inclusive disaster preparedness app. After downloading, users can access detailed information on how to stay safe in a disaster, create an emergency kit checklist, and find a map with FEMA Disaster Recovery Center locations.

After establishing a plan, additional apps can help keep you aware of any weather emergencies on the way. The WeatherBug Protect app detects conditions in a user’s exact location and automatically generates alerts so a user can decide whether to vacate the area or take other precautions. Those who have Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA)-capable devices can have severe weather alerts for their location automatically sent to their devices without downloading an app.

In some emergency situations, help may be needed immediately. The 911 app dials emergency services automatically, when opened. While the ambulance is on its way, the American Red Cross First Aid app can provide step-by-step guides to handling everything from cuts to broken bones.

By turning their smartphones into emergency-ready devices, individuals across the country can proactively prepare to protect themselves and their loved ones when the time comes.