Flood, fire, tornado, hurricane, or earthquake? Which one do you fear most? Preparing for the unimaginable means preparing a survival emergency kit with essential supplies such as dry food, water, first aid, and other necessities. But did you know that your smartphone might be the most valuable emergency supplies and items you need in your preparedness checklist?
A smartphone is the most life-saving electrical device to grab when a severe disaster strikes and engulfs your community in a world of chaos. With luck, you will have it with you since its convenience may assist your day-to-day activities.
Your Phone Is Your Emergency Kit During A Disaster
The question to explore is whether your device is ready to support you when your surrounding world crashes down. Preparedness includes the download of apps offered for disaster management. In the adrenaline-fueled moments of fight-or-flight, the information collected through your smartphone will ground your decisions with real-time data and bring a virtual army of experts to your fingertips.
The screen will become the portal through which you replenish courage and resilience with a connection to the outside world of rescuers, friends, and strangers who picked up the distress signal from afar. The smart device utilities also give a digital signature of where you are through the device's internal GPS and a flashlight with a pulsing S.O.S.
Smart Technology In Times Of Disasters
However, don't assume that your experience with the phone will be like a regular call. Smart technology behaves differently in times of disaster. The phone lines may ring busy, the WIFI system may no longer work, the local cellular towers may have suffered through a storm, and the number of phone calls attempted may overwhelm local phone networks.
A text message has a greater chance to reach someone else, even if delayed, because the smartphone will continue to try to send it until the radio waves open a window of bandwidth for it to take off. Your emergency plan must include a long-distance friend or family member who can be the intermediary if you are separated from your loved ones. Even if the local network is saturated, out-of-state calls may still reach someone.
Portable Chargers & Power Banks Should Be In Your First Aid Kit
Uploads and downloads burn battery energy faster without a WIFI system. Portable chargers for your phone are more than a convenience. They are essential to increasing the odds of survival. Always maintain a backup of charged storage sticks for your phones and devices.
Consider investing in a backup battery that holds power for several hours for your computer. Make it a habit to save your files in the cloud to retrieve them from any location, even if you lose your laptop to a flood or fire.
Planning is an antidote to over-the-counter drugs for panic and disorientation. Let's explore how to make your smart devices your best ally in disasters.
Disaster Preparedness Checklist: Which Emergency Supplies Do You Need?
- Water: For drinking and sanitation, each needs one gallon of water daily for many days.
- Food: a good supply of non-perishable food to last a couple of days
- Battery-powered or hand-crank radio, and a NOAA radio with alarm tone
- A flashlight
- First aid kit: First aid guide, selection of sterile gauze pads and adhesive bandages, medical tape, ace bandage, CPR mask, Quik Clot, over-the-counter medications (aspirin, antidiarrheal drugs, and activated charcoal), antiseptic cream, soap, nitrile gloves, SAM splint, oropharyngeal airways set, thermometer, tweezers and needles, and tongue depressors.
- Extra batteries
- Whistle to summon assistance.
- Plastic sheets, duct tape, and a dust mask to assist in filtering polluted air are all tools for locating a haven.
- Garbage bags, plastic sheeting, plastic utensils, paper, and towelettes
- Food cans are opened manually.
- Personal hygiene items stored in easy-to-carry containers
- Chargers and/or a power bank
- Airtight plastic bags
Apps for Natural Disasters and Epidemics
The outside world may be better informed about what is happening, or you may have first-row seats to a scary development. Some may not hear about the incoming disaster; others may underestimate the danger. For many, the threat strikes faster than anticipated. It is essential to know how to prepare supplies at this specific moment.
Several apps provide in-the-moment tips and checklists, updates on current conditions, and a bridge of communication between family members and friends.
The American Red Cross mobile apps – Downloaded more than 7 million times, this set of apps provides a portal to flood, fire, tornado, hurricane, and earthquake experts. These tools also come with customizable alerts for weather conditions and other emergency preparedness conditions.
MyRadar Weather Radar – This app observes and records the status of the weather, from rain to wind speeds and temperature.
Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) apps – For medical crises, these apps guide you through what to do in various medical emergencies, including infectious outbreaks. For example, the CDC HEADS UP Concussion and Helmet Safety app helps spot the signs of a concussion. CDC also aids physicians in managing an epidemic outbreak.
FEMA – This app receives direct information about weather conditions and provides a communication channel between users and their loved ones. Additionally, a disaster preparedness plan gives lists to build emergency kits and family disaster management plans and locates any open shelters.
Facebook’s Crisis Response, Safety Check, and The Community Help Tool coalesce safety tools, give an easy way to make emergency contact, tell friends you are safe, and set up a virtual gathering place to coordinate help during emergencies and in the aftermath of disasters.
Apps that Care About Pets in Time of Disaster
When a natural disaster first occurs and chaos erupts, losing track of one another is easy. This is especially true with animal companions and pets. In the aftermath of Hurricane Michael, over 600 pets were displaced. Luckily, there are apps to help keep track of nonhuman family members as well.
ASPCA Mobile App – This app helps manage pets with a free service that issues animal welfare breaking news, a guide with instructions for caring for pets in times of disasters, and assists step by step in finding a lost four-legged friend.
Tagg – This GPS-based tracker app pings the location of a pet.
The American Red Cross Pet First Aid App is designed for emergencies with guidance for animal first aid intervention, the closest vet or 24-hour animal hospital, and other medical information critical to saving an animal.
BringFido – A big struggle when finding shelter for a family is finding a place where animals are welcome. This app locates all animal-friendly hotels and inns and provides prices for all available rooms.
Apps that Help Manage the Aftermath
Many families lost their homes in 2018 and 2019 due to natural disasters. The Woolsey fire in late 2018 burned nearly 97,000 acres and destroyed more than 1,500 commercial and residential buildings. The 2017 Harvey hurricane caused over $125B of destruction, leveling down numerous structures.
Resources To Consider After A Disaster
What do you do when your home no longer has a roof? Several apps give a bridge to recovery services.
Apps & Tools – Data.gov – As a service the White House offers, this website specifies critical disaster aid apps. They are designed to survey the surrounding area, advise on important life-saving actions, identify hazardous materials, structures, and substances, provide a basic emergency supply kit, and support relief responders.
Federal Emergency Management Agency – Look for updates on their website or set up alerts to see the recommended evacuation routes, places where you can get help, or business continuity plans.
In closure, planning an emergency supply kit is key to survival from terrible natural disasters. Apps can help a lot in dealing with the unimaginable. So, consider including these resources in your disaster preparedness checklist.
We hope this guide helped you prepare your entire disaster supplies kit. As you can see, it’s always important to be practical and have any emergency contact information ready. No one knows when a disaster will strike, but having the basic items when an emergency occurs can save you and the lives of your loved ones.