Guest Post – Jay Acker from Safety Services Co
Preparing for storm, tornado, bushfire, flood, or other unexpected disaster has long meant monitoring the news and weather, stockpiling canned foods, hoarding fresh batteries for an emergency radio, stocking an emergency preparedness kit for whatever may arise, and maybe even evacuating. With the proliferation of now-ubiquitous smartphones, apps have become the must-have for preparing, surviving, and recovering from any crisis.
And this isn’t just about using a cell phone to dial for help. Following you will find a selection of inexpensive apps that serve as emergency preparedness and response tools for the 21st century.
Beachsafe was created by Surf Life Saving Australia, and brings real-time beach safety information to a user’s smartphone detailing Australia’s 12,000 beaches. The free app covers weather, tide, and swell data, along with regulatory and hazard information provided specific to the users location. And if you question how up-to-date this app really is, rest assured that it is directly linked to Surf Life Saving Australia’s network of databases, ensuring that users have the freshest information. These features come together to provide beachgoers, coastal explorers, and residents of Australia’s miles and miles of coastline with the up-to-date information needed to anticipate and avoid danger while safely enjoying the sun, sand, and surf.
Before The Storm
It’s never too early to teach youngsters what to do before, during, and after a storm. Before the Storm is an educational game that provides middle school-aged students with an understanding of storm preparation and disaster resilience. The Australian Emergency Management Institute developed the free iPhone and iPad app, which is based on the Attorney General’s Department’s Storm Action Guide. Users complete a series of tasks in an effort to find all of the items needed to create an emergency survival kit. These supplies are then be used to prepare the house for the storm, and repair the house once the storm passes. Before the Storm is more than an app; it is an animated adventure that gives students the tools they need to survive the dangers of severe weather.
The Australian Attorney-General’s Department released DisasterWatch in 2011 to give residents and visitors broad access to emergency updates and information on a mobile phone platform. The free download for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch provides direct feeds from a number of emergency agencies, and the information is updated approximately every 20 minutes. Users are able to select feeds for all of Australia, or filter by state or territory.
StopDisaster transforms your iPhone into a disaster relief kit, complete with checklists, 16 disaster scenarios, and contact lists. It also provides step-by-step emergency relief kit prep with prioritized checklists, auto-generated shopping lists, and an emergency response planner with meeting points and social media access. For $1.99, all of these features give users the tools prepare for any emergency that may arise.
The people of Victoria, Australia, are familiar with bushfires, and to keep residents and visitors aware of the fire threats in the area, the Country Fire Authority has created CFA FireReady . CFA FireReady provides up-to-date
bushfire updates through a live incident map, push notifications about incidents or planned burns that are taking place, and GPS mapping to display the proximity of the burns to the user. Aside from the real-time fire tracking, the app gives users resources to prepare for fires, including a household bushfire self-assessment tool, a FireReady kit, and new fire ratings. The free app is compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, and certain Android, Blackberry, and Windows devices.
The worst outcome of a natural disaster is personal injury, but Hypernet Solutions’ First Responder app comes with a bold catch phrase: “This Program Truly Can Save Your Life,” and for $.99, it is offers simple functionality that could come in handy regardless of the situation. The iPhone and iPad app allows users to send a pre-programmed HELP message to contacts with the touch of a screen or alert 911 with two simple taps. Additionally, the GPS locator system will alert responders to the user’s exact location, even if it is off the beaten path. First Responder is simple to configure, simple to use, and it may just save a life.
Truth is, you can never be too prepared for an emergency, but unfortunately, many disasters come with little warning. With a smartphone and a few inexpensive apps, disaster preparedness is little more than a click away.
At safetyservicescompany.com, the team run by Jay Acker makes safety training kits and a variety of safety training materials. They make videos, posters, training kits and other items for safety training.