Having grown up in the midwest I miss those thunderstorms with lighting that are so common there. Living in Oregon now, seeing lightning is a rare treat *at least in my eyes). But thunderstorms in the spring in the midwest almost inevitably leads to tornadoes and we’ve seen lately just how devastating those can be. With that in mind, I thought it was appropriate to share my 5 must have emergency apps for your iPhone that I have used or will use in emergency situations.
One of the most common situations we find ourselves in with regard to emergencies is a simple power outage. We’ve all experienced them and probably even used you iPhone as a flashlight; just open some app with a white background and you have a flashlight.
But I would argue that you might need something more than just light out of your flashlight. I like the free simply names app Flashlight by John Haney Software. There are many apps out there with the same or similar names so I’ve added the software publishers name as well as a link to it in the App Store.
There are several features here that are useful and go beyond just having an app open to shine light. In addition to the on and off buttons, the app has a manual area you can tap to turn on the LED just when you need it. This is helpful in those situations where you unsure how long the blackout might last and you want to conserve battery. Other features are the strobe and S.O.S. both which would be more useful if you were lost in the wilderness and knew folks were looking for you.
I should also mention that iOS 7 will have a flashlight app as part of the included software so it will be interesting to see what happens to this category of apps. Most are free so if the software maker can offer features not available in the Apple version they will likely be able to continue to get downloads.
Being a Mac guy, I tend to avoid Microsoft products but I can recommend their product called HelpBridge. The idea behind the app is twofold. One, in the midst of an emergency, it allows you to quickly alert a list of family and friends that you either need help or that you are fine. This can be a great help (pun intended) so you don’t burden the cellular system with multiple messages to a bunch of people. With one click, you can send the same message by email and/or text message or and post to your Facebook page. There is also the opportunity to turn on the option to show your location to allow those folks to know where you are. This could come in handy if you are away and haven’t necessarily made those in your emergency contacts aware of your travel plans.
The second aspect of the app is to make it easy for anyone to donate money by text which we’ve all grown accustomed to these days as well as donating via Paypal or donating goods. It also offers the opportunity to volunteer either in your own community or nationwide.
I did find one aspect of Helpbridge troubling. It wasn’t obvious to me how to set up your emergency contacts. There is no info button and to set up your emergency contacts you have to go to the share button and select group management. All of this is not exactly obvious and it took me a while to figure this out so I mention it here so others don’t have to struggle to figure out how to add your contacts to the app.
3. wikiHow: How to and DIY Survival Guide
This free wikiHow app is an excellent set of articles to help you in just about any situation; from helping someone who is choking to handling vehicle emergencies, to natural disasters. Each section is broken down further and into more specific situations and then has a clear article outlining the steps to perform the action as well as a tab for things you need and a tab for tips and warnings. It has a wealth of information on a whole range of topics some of which don’t directly relate to emergencies. I recommend reading some of these before you actually need them as you most likely would not have your iPhone with you when you experience a shark attack!
I like that if you are ever in the desert with a camel and it becomes spooked, there’s an article with information on that. There’s even a section on party emergencies which includes chilling a drink quickly as well as handling party crashers and dealing with the police if they get called for a party you are hosting. While these may not be emergencies in the usual sense of the word, it’s still good information to know.
4. ICE Standard – Emergency Standard Card
Heaven forbid you are ever in an accident and incapacitated but if that should happen you need a way to let medical staff treating you know of any special medical conditions or medications you are taking. This is especially important if you have a condition such as diabetes, suffer from seizures, or a history of heart attacks. That’s what ICE – Emergency Standard Card does.
The emergency standard card has not only your basic information such as name and birthdate but areas to list your emergency contacts, any medications you are taking, allergies, conditions and medical devices such as an implanted defibrillator and your blood type. You can also include your insurance information as well as any other information you think might be helpful to those treating you. Even if you aren’t incapacitated its good to have all this information all together in one place.
This information is only useful if it can be easily found by medical staff. If you’re incapacitated and your iPhone is locked, it doesn’t really help. The application has a solution for this. It will lead you through the process of setting up a lock screen containing this information.
The best solution though is to have a printed card on your person with the pertinent information. The app makes this easy as you can order for a low-cost card to keep in your purse or wallet once you fill out the information within the app. There are other paid options within the app such as purchasing an add-on for auto information as well as information on your kids.
5. First Aid by American Red Cross
While the wikiHow app has information on first aid, I firmly believe having a dedicated first aid app is important. The American Red Cross is a well-respected institution and has provided information on first aid for many years. I have found their first aid app informative and useful providing not only written instructions but in some cases video as well.
The app has not only first aid but also preparedness information for situations such as earthquake, fire, hurricane and many more. Another aspect of the app I love is the test you can take to see if you have learned the information.
While these 5 apps are useful there are other items you should have on hand to be ready for emergencies. These apps aren’t useful if your iPhone battery dies.
The following 3 links are affiliate links and I earn a small commission from these items if you by them through these links.
- External battery pack: Some external battery package to allow you to recharge your iPhone
- Flashlight with USB outlet and crank generator: When your external battery runs dry, with this gadget you can hand crank to generate energy to charge your iPhone.
- USB car adapter: If you are at home or in your car, I highly recommend having a USB car adapter in each car you own. This is another power source for your iPhone in an emergency.
Hope you’ve found this useful and if you have other suggestions for apps you have used and found useful, please leave a comment below.
Below you will find some other resources I think are useful for preparing for emergencies.
Other Articles on Emergency Apps
Apps For Emergencies: iPad/iPhone Apps from AppAdvice.com
The best emergency apps for your phone from WCPO.com
10 Best iPhone Apps for Emergency Preparedness from Android SmartPhoneTips.com
10 Handy iPhone Apps for Emergency Scenarios from MacLife.com
7 iPhone Apps That Can Save Lives from Mashable.com