Top 12 Free Apps for an Emergency

December 02, 2016

For many of us, our smartphones are a very important part of our daily life. We use them to communicate, keep in touch with our social network and to surf the web. But in the event of an emergency in your area, they can also help serve to keep you alive.

Imagine having documentation provided to our own military to survive or other tools that could potentially save your life right at your fingertips? In the event there’s an emergency that takes down the electrical grid, having a smartphone preloaded with these emergency apps can provide critical information to help you handle this difficult time and could potentially keep you or your family stay alive.

I’ve broken these apps up by categories and listed them in no specific order. In addition, I’ll provide links in the description section below to these apps. Side note: some of these apps work with an internet connection and some do not, but they’re all still valuable to have nonetheless.

So let’s jump in.

1. Survival Guide

This Survival Guide app is completely based on the U.S. Military Survival Manual FM 21-76. This contains the most proven and field tested military techniques documented by the U.S military and used for official training, The U.S. Army Survival Manual provides step by step instructions and illustrations for surviving outdoors. The U.S. Army knows how to train their personnel to survive and I figure it’s something I probably should have in my collection. Also worth nothing, this application is also not reliant on a data connection and can be run when you are not in a service area.

2. Medical Guide

I decided to install the American Red Cross app. Having critical medical knowledge at your fingertips is just a smart idea to have in daily life in general. This easy to use guide has step-by-step instructions, photos, and videos on how to deal with common first aid issues.

I would highly recommend you also check out their other free apps they have to offer on the Red Cross website that has apps that are specific to your region and apps to deal with first aid needs for your pets:

Another app worth mentioning is the Web MD app. It requires an internet connection but it’s still worth having in your arsenal.

3. Utility

Most smartphones have a LED light on the back that serves as a light for when you take pictures. Having this flashlight app definitely could be handy if you were stuck somewhere without a light.

4. Disaster Preparation

This the official app of FEMA, or the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The app includes an interactive checklist for emergency supplies and information on how to survive disasters. While I’m not a big fan of FEMA, they do have some useful information in this app that can serve as a great primer for emergency preparedness.

5. File Storage

Dropbox is a very useful tool in the event you have to leave your home in a rush or even worse, if you’re home is destroyed. By scanning important documents, you can have them securely backed up to the cloud and synced with your phone. Another popular app that does the same thing is Google Drive. Both of these types of services have large amounts of storage and you can easily backup quite a lot of information and important files.

6. Weather

The Weather Bug app allows you to know the specifics of the weather in your area. This information can be very important when storms or severe weather rolls in. This app is powered by the world’s largest network of professional weather stations, providing weather alerts, real-time weather conditions, and more.

7. Communications

The Scanner Radio app is not only very useful during an emergency, it’s also kinda fun to listen to real-time police communications around the country. During an emergency, having this information available could be very useful to understand what is happening in your local area.

8. Directions

For this, I installed the Compass App. While I think having a compass is critical during an emergency, this is a solid option. I played around with this app and was thoroughly amazed at how well it performs. This compass supports magnetic north and true north calculated using network or GPS location coordinates.

Google Maps is another extremely useful app during an emergency. One feature that many people are not aware of is the ability to download a specific area map to your phone which could be very useful if you had to flee your home and there was no internet access. Of course, this assumes you downloaded the map before you lost an internet connection. I was on a hunting trip recently in the middle of nowhere and we utilized this download feature to help keep us from getting lost in the woods. Plus Google Maps shows traffic in real time which could provide critical information if you had to leave your area in a hurry along with a bunch of other people.

9. Gear Preparation

The Bug out Bag survival guide app helps you build and maintain your bag. A bug out bag is a critical tool to have during times of emergency. If you had just minutes to evacuate your home, having the ability to grab this gear, which is also recommended by Fema, allows you to grab critical items you would need to survive. This app helps you maintain and monitor your gear to ensure your items stay up to date.

10. Knots

Did you miss growing up in Boy Scouts? Not a problem. This Knots app has got you covered. This app teaches you what each knot is commonly used for along with its strengths and weaknesses. This could come in handy if you need to tie something down or secure an item.

11. Chemical Safety

I added this Cargo Decoder app to the list, because if an event causes vehicle gridlock in your area, it’s good to know what the chemicals are that are sitting on the back of a truck near your home. Just punch the 4 digit code you see on the vehicle and you can get the information along with a description of the chemicals being transported.

So those are the top 12 free apps, but I would be remiss not to mention one more very valuable app. It’s the SAS Survival app.

The SAS survival guide app is one app that’s definitely worth purchasing to add to your phone. This book, which has sold millions, is the definitive resource for all campers, hikers, and outdoor adventurers. From basic camp craft and navigation to fear management and strategies for coping with any type of disaster, this is definitely a very valuable resource to ensure you can survive in very adverse conditions. At $5.99, it’s worth having on your phone. I’ll also provide a link in the description below to this app.

It’s also worth noting that if the electrical grid were to go down, having a way to charge your cell phone will be critical. I have a small hand crank flashlight/radio that has a USB charger I can attach to my phone to keep it charged. You should definitely give serious consideration to picking up one of these.

I hope you found this information useful and I’d love to get your feedback. If you have apps you have found very useful for emergency situations, please feel free to share these in the comment section below.

As always, be safe out there.

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