There’s no question that we love downloading the latest fun apps, from the hottest photo editing apps to awesome travel apps. But when it comes to stocking our phone with adulting apps that aren’t quite as obsession-inducing as Pokemon Go… let’s just say, we rarely get around to it. Unfortunately, emergencies happen — whether we’ve wasted all our storage space on game apps or not. Having the right tools available during a crisis can literally mean the difference between life and death. Here are the 11 grown-up apps you should download on your smartphone BEFORE an emergency occurs (just do it RN).
Apps That Need Data/WiFi
1. SirenGPS: If you ever find yourself in a sticky situation that could result in you calling the police (think: walking home after a boozy Saturday night out), this app should definitely be in your back pocket. The app works like a panic button, allowing you to contact 911 immediately if you’re in trouble. Plus, community responders will receive your precise location and emergency contacts in the event of an emergency, if they’re subscribed to SirenGPS.
2. FEMA: The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is the go-to place to start prepping for almost any type of major emergency, like floods or tornados. Their handy app provides helpful tips for before, during and after a crisis, PLUS it allows users to share disaster pics with the agency to better assess damage during an unfortunate event.
3. Family Locator by Life360: When disaster strikes, most people’s number-one priority is making sure that those they love are safe. After making an account for each of your loved ones, simply create a “circle” in the app that includes everyone. You’ll be able to quickly share your location in real-time with anyone in the group. That’s some serious peace of mind.
4. Companion: Walking home alone can be dangerous, even with certain police forces standing up to catcalling and street harassment. If you routinely feel unsafe, download this helpful app before your next trip home. Simply plug in your destination and add a few companions to keep you company online during the trip home. If anything were to happen — say your headphones are yanked out or you start to run — the app will ask you if everything is alright. If you don’t respond, they will contact your companions.
5. Scanner Radio Deluxe: When the power goes out during an emergency, getting all the information you need is crucial to staying safe and calm. If you don’t already have a physical scanner radio in your emergency kit, download this free virtual one. Not only does it have over 5,300 police scanners and amateur radio stations, but its ability to search by location is mega-helpful during any emergency.
Apps That Don’t Need Data/WiFi
6. ICE (In Case of Emergency): Although some people wear emergency bracelets as a just-in-case measure, this awesome app is making accessing your crucial medical information in the event of an emergency easier than ever. Simply log everything you think the paramedics should know into the app — what medication you’re on, your specific conditions or ailments, etc. — and the info will show up on your lock screen for the EMTs to access immediately.
7. First Aid by American Red Cross: In the event of a full-scale catastrophe, the prolonged wait for an ambulance may mean the difference between life and death. Thankfully, the American Red Cross has released an app specifically designed to coach people through first aid in crisis situations. And yes, all the info is conveniently available offline.
8. WikiHow: We’ve all used WikiHow to look up how to bake a perfect vanilla cake or change a tire on our car, but the popular service is actually super useful when it comes to emergencies too. Their awesome Survival Guide is available offline to app users, detailing everything from how to provide CPR to how to land a plane. Score!
9. Maps.Me: Even if you have a predetermined meeting spot or disaster route planned, getting there without the use of the Internet may prove difficult. This helpful app allows users to download maps ahead of time — meaning you can safely get to your destination… even without WiFi.
10. MyShake: Developed by the UC Berkeley Seismological Laboratory, this crazy app turns your Android phone into a seismic detector (how cool is that?!). Although the app is still in its early stage of development, the goal is to one day provide its users with a warning PRIOR to earthquake shaking. Definitely one for Californians to DL, stat.
DL It: Free on Android
11. Battery Doctor: Even with all the extra battery packs and wind-up chargers, your smartphone (AKA your lifeline) is still at risk of dying during an extended emergency. This app attempts to minimize that risk by providing you with detailed information regarding your phone’s battery when you need it most.
How have you prepared for an emergency? Let us know on Twitter by mentioning @BritandCo.