Smartphone Event Preparedness Tools

ESGiconEvent Preparedness Apps for your Smartphone

Event preparedness is much the same as emergency preparedness, but due to a man-made disaster.

Like any disaster, many services will be interrupted, so here is what to do in case:

  • If cell service goes down…

If you have experienced a natural disaster, you realize cell service can be out for short periods of time.  This can also mean no wifi or access to Internet.When this happens we want to be able to use our Smartphones for whatever is useful. Here are some choices.

Many of the apps on this list do not need to be connected to the Internet to work, they are fully functional on your phone and do not need a server to operate. This is important and the list will clearly mark the ones that can stand on their own. Informational apps that can provide instructions for emergencies, important documents are most important.

The Internet is designed to withstand a nuclear war, so it is more resilient than cell service. If cell service is out, and you have a good wifi signal, a walkie-talkie app may be the perfect tool for connecting to others in your area. After a little research, the Zello Walkie Talkie app looks like the best bet. It can be used with phones without a SIM card, so that’s a use for your old cell. You can have all your friends download and install it, because it has apps for almost all the smartphones.

  • If the electricity is down…

Cell phone battery life is usually about a day. If you want to be able to keep your cell phone or other rechargeable tool ready to go, you might want to seriously consider a small solar generator. There are all sorts of generators on the market that can keep things powered so look for something that works for you.

  • Call your family…

Two ideas for this. Get a phone with a cord Landlines may work because the phone company has battery backup if electric is disabled. Cordless ones are great, but they don’t do you any good when the electricity is out and the cell towers are down. So think about picking up a $5 phone to add to your emergency kit, because even when cell service is out, landlines often still work!  Keep in mind that local calling on your cell could be out because local exchanges are overloaded with people calling or are damaged or shutdown, but  you may still be able to call long distance on your cell phone. LD is still working because they connect directly to out of town routes and do not go through local exchanges. So make a plan to use an out of town contact to be your family’s emergency person to call.

FEMA recommends that every household have at least a 2 week supply of food and water, but yet the average American only has 3 days! Depending on the disaster, sometimes relief/aid can take a week or more to arrive and when you’re hungry, cold, and tired EVERY DAY makes a difference (especially when you have whiny kids who don’t understand). If you need help getting a 2 week supply of food, check-out the 5 steps I used to get mine.

The checklist below is a great place to get started with stocking-up and getting the necessities!

Supplies Checklist:

  • Water – At least 14 gallons per person. (use storage containers, bathtub, hot tub etc for wash water)
  • Food – Meal plan at least 2 weeks worth of food.
  • No-Electric Cooking – Have 2-3 ways to cook your food.
  • Gasoline – Fill-up all the cars & have some extra for the generator.
  • Survival Kits – 1st Aid Kit, 72 Hour Kit, Emergency Bag
  • Etcetera – Phone w/ cord, water filters, heat sources, clothing, blankets

Most of these apps are not ones you’ll use every day. However, it’s a good idea to go ahead and download them for when the unexpected happens. Even better, when you have spare time (whatever that is) familiarize yourself with their content so you’ll be better prepared to survive a disaster, or even save a life!


Apps to make a Preparedness Plan:

These preparedness apps marked if they are available for both the Android and I-Phone. Most are free, but some require a small investment.

The best time to prepare for a major loss of infrastructure is BEFORE! Each of these preparedness apps will help you put together a plan so you can help others


clearas iceIn Case of Emergency ICE Lite (iPhone) (Android)

Free To overcome the inherent issues with locked screens on mobile phones, former paramedic and creator of ICE – In Case of Emergency, Bob Brotchie, has also created this app to ensure the best possible chance of relevant information being available when it’s needed. It’s a complement to all other methods or can be used on its own. In short, this app provides for the most critical information to be accessible in the shortest possible time! 

ICE – In Case of Emergency has been running successfully, and has been globally accepted, since 2005. The ICE wallpaper creator returns emergency notification back to the ideals of Bob’s original concept – uniformity!


disaster readiness appDisaster Readiness (iPhone) (Android)

$1.99 Disaster Readiness is an emergency prep guide with more than 175,000 reference guides on how to respond to any disaster situation. Should the power go out, you won’t be able to rely upon the Internet for information. This handy app should have all the info you need, with sections on floods, fires, evacuation, and how to find or create shelter in an emergency.


sas survival guide appSAS Survival Guide (iPhone) (Android)

$5.99 Fully downloaded onto your device, no wi-fi or cell signal is needed. In addition to extremely detailed survival information and checklists, you will find videos, quizzes, a morse code signaling device, and a sun compass. This app will help prepare  you for urban disasters, natural disasters, how to survive outdoor situations and much more.



wikihow how-to and diy survival kit appwikiHow: How to and DIY Survival Kit (iPhone)

Free This app covers about every emergency situation you could think of. Explore 140,000+ how-to articles, where you can get help with First Aid, CPR & Choking, Animal Attacks, Vehicle Emergencies, Escapes & Rescues, Natural Disasters, Self Defense, Wilderness Survival, and so much more.



winter survival kit appWinter Survival Kit (iPhone)

Free  People who live anyplace that gets “real” winters know to keep a winter survival kit in their cars: snow brush/ice scraper, water, food, blankets, and more. This app can help you pack that kit, but it also serves as your virtual survival kit. This app will help you find your current location, call 911, notify your friends and family, calculate how long you can run your engine to keep warm and stay safe from carbon monoxide poisoning.


(may not be) Natural Disaster Preparedness:

Each of us are likely to face different disasters depending on where we live, so make sure to download the apps that are relevant for your area.

earthquakeEarthquake (iPhone)

Free  Earthquake – American Red Cross app provides step-by-step instructions on what to do before/during/after an earthquake. Get notified when an earthquake occurs, prepare your family and home, find help and let others know you are safe even if the power is out.


hurricane Hurricane (iPhone)(Android)

Free  Be ready for severe weather with Hurricane by American Red Cross. Monitor conditions in your area or throughout the storm track, prepare your family and home, find help and let others know you are safe even if the power is out – a must have for anyone who lives in an area where a hurricane may strike or has loved ones who do.


tornadoTornado (iPhone) (Android)

Free   Tornado by American Red Cross app provides access to local and real-time information on what to do before, during and after a tornado, including an audible siren when NOAA issues a tornado warning even if your app is closed. Get your family and home ready for a tornado. The American Red Cross tornado app is the complete solution you need to understand and prepare for a tornado and all that comes with it.

You may also read this:


wildfireWildfire (iPhone) (Android)

Free  Be ready for a wildfire with Wildfire by the American Red Cross. Get notified about active wildfires, as well as fire weather warnings, prepare your family, home and pets, let loved ones know that you are safe even if the power is out – a must have for anyone who lives in an area that is susceptible to wildfires or has loved ones that do.


Stay Informed:

One of the best ways to be ready for a disaster is to know what’s going on around you! These smartphone apps will keep you current so you are among the 1st to know of anything that is headed your way.

myradarMyRadar (iPhone)(Android)

Free  MyRadar is a fast, easy-to-use, no-frills application that displays animated weather radar around your current location, allowing you to quickly see what weather is coming your way. Just start the app, and your location pops up with animated weather. The map has the standard pinch/zoom capability which allows you to smoothly zoom and pan around the United States and see what the weather is like anywhere.


disaster alert appDisaster Alert (iPhone) (Android)

Free  Disaster Alert (by Pacific Disaster Center) provides a listing and an interactive map of Active Hazards occurring around the globe. Additional information and reports about hazards can be viewed and shared. The term “Active Hazards” refers to a collection of current and real-time incidents (compiled from authoritative sources), which have been designated “potentially hazardous to people, property or assets” by the PDC DisasterAWARE application.


trackerHurricane Tracker (iPhone) (Android)

$2.99 When a hurricane is approaching, you don’t want a storm-tracker map from three hours ago; you need the latest official maps, data and projections. This hurricane-tracking app is for serious weather junkies and people who want the most accurate information as they make decisions. Hurricane Tracker: Includes video, radar images, alerts and minute-by-minute tracking updates, so that you can follow a storm all in one place. For Android, try the free Hurricane Software app.


outbreaks near me appOutbreaks Near Me (iPhone)(Android)

Free  With HealthMap’s Outbreaks Near Me application, you have all of HealthMap’s latest real-time disease outbreak information at your fingertips. Open the app and see all current outbreaks in your neighborhood, including news about H1N1 influenza (swine flu). If you spy an outbreak, be the first to report it using the app’s unique outbreak reporting feature.


scanner radio appScanner Radio (iPhone) (Android)

Free  During a disaster, everyone hears rumors. What’s really going on? The answer might be found on police band radio, which you can pick up using this free app. This isn’t talk radio; it’s an unfiltered feed of cops, firefighters and other public-safety officers. It shouldn’t be your only news source, but it could be worth listening in.


Navigate Your Surroundings:

When things get chaotic it’s easy to get lost – or maybe you need to relocate to a safer place. These apps will help you find your way ANYWHERE in the world. Many of these are intended for serious off road use, backpacking or orienteering. If you are intending to bug out and go where no one will find you, then this section will not be adequate for your purposes, for that yo will need a lot of serious equipment and using smartphone apps will not be practical. You will still want several of these though.


backcountryBackCountry Navigator TOPO GPS (Android)

$7.99 Find your own ways to have fun in the outdoors. Be a maverick by venturing beyond cell service boundaries with your GPS. Become a pro at navigation with GPS for the outdoors.  BackCountry Navigator has been on WM devices and preloaded on the Trimble Nomad outdoor rugged device. This Android version is more flexible, featured, and fun. Create a memory with maps. For a one time fee, this a great addition to the outdoor gear you bought at Cabelas, REI, or another outdoor store. Many have found the Android GPS in a phone or tablet to substitute for a Garmin GPS or Magellan GPS, such as the Garmin GPS units Montana, Etrex, or Oregon. Android can be your handheld GPS.

gglearthiconGoogle Earth (iPhone) (Android)

Free  Fly around the planet with a swipe of your finger with Google Earth for Android, iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. Explore distant lands or reacquaint yourself with your childhood home. Search for cities, places, and businesses. Browse layers including roads, borders, places, photos and more. See the world at street level with integrated Street View.

gps grid reference appGPS Grid Reference (Android) 

$7.99  GPS Grid Reference: Great app for outdoor sports, running, hiking, site survey, search and rescue, travel and more!!. Many GPS & Compass features, combines with various OFFLINE maps (UK OS map, USGS, OSM, Mapnik, Topo & Cycle and more!).


gglskymapGoogle Sky Map (Android)

Free  Sky Map is a hand-held planetarium for your Android device. Use it to identify stars, planets, nebulae and more. Originally developed as Google Sky Map, it has now been donated and open sourced.


skymapappiconSky Map (iPhone)

Free  Sky Map turns your iPhone or iPad into a window on the night sky.  All you have to do is point your device at the sky and the Sky Map will tell you exactly what you are looking at.

Displays stars, planets, moon phases, constellations, messier objects and meteor showers.


 Survive and Respond:

Sometimes there will be no one around to help you when an emergency arises, or maybe you are someone’s only hope. What would you do? These emergency apps will help guide you through saving yourself or the life of someone else. Definitely take time to familiarize yourself with them before you find yourself in a life or death scenario.


firstaidFirst Aid & CPR (iPhone) (Android)

Accidents happen. The official American Red Cross First Aid app puts expert advice for everyday emergencies in your hand. Get the app and be prepared for what life brings. With videos, interactive quizzes and simple step-by-step advice it’s never been easier to know first aid.

Ahora disponible en español.


gotoaidliteGotoAID First Aid Lite (iPhone) (Android)

With a database of over 400 topics, interactive tools, and report generators, GotoAID brings immediate access to first aid information for you and your pets. It also provides a full disaster preparedness section on what to do before, during and after a disaster. Created for the non-professional responder, GotoAID’s easy-to-follow instructions and illustrations walk the first aid provider step-by-step through the appropriate responses for everything from bee stings to weather related emergencies to a complete Sudden Cardiac Arrest incident. GotoAID is also an outstanding resource for those who want to enhance their emergency care training by providing instructions for many types of emergency situations not traditionally included in a basic first aid course.


triageiTriage (iPhone) (Android)

Free Find medications, diseases, and medical locations and instantly get answers to your questions right on your phone. If you or your loved ones are hurt, sick, or injured, iTriage will help you determine what the problem may be. This app will also help you find a doctor, in case you do need medical assistance. You can even store your medical history right within the app.


lactmedLACTMED (iPhone) (Android)

Free  If you are a nursing mother take a look at this app. LactMed is a database of drugs and other chemicals to which breastfeeding mothers may be exposed. It includes information on the levels of such substances in breast milk and infant blood, and the possible adverse effects in the nursing infant. Suggested therapeutic alternatives are provided to those drugs where appropriate.


wisericonWISER (iPhone) (Android)

WISER (Wireless Information System for Emergency Responders) is a mobile application designed to assist first responders in hazardous material incidents. Even if you are not a 1st responder, knowing what to do and how to handle hazardous materials might be crucial information in an emergency.


remmiconREMM (iPhone) (Android)

REMM (Radiation Emergency Medical Management) provides guidance about clinical diagnosis and treatment of radiation injuries during radiological and nuclear emergencies.  Just-in-time, evidence-based, usable information with sufficient background and context to make complex issues understandable to those without formal radiation medicine expertise. Web-based information that is also downloadable in advance, so that it would be available during an event if the internet is not accessible


merckMerck Manual Home (iPhone) (Android)

In case the information in GotoAID is not detailed enough for you, there is plenty more in this app. This manual has been written by more than 300 medical experts. It has information on animal bites, burns, chemical burns, fractures, head injuries, nose bleeds, and much more. The app is fully self-contained; no Wi-Fi or cellular Internet connection is needed.


Get Help:

No matter how prepared you think you are, there are just times we all could use somehelp. Would you or your family know what to do, or where to go to get help?

redbuttonRed Panic Button (iPhone) (Android)

Allows users to send their GPS location to pre-set emergency contacts with just one touch. If you’re caught in a dangerous situation, getting the word out might be a lifesaver. You just have to set a panic number or email address and the phone will send a message which contains your address and location.



femaappFEMA (iPhone) (Android) (Blackberry)

The FEMA app is your one-stop-shop with tools and tips to keep you safe before, during, and after disasters. Stay updated with weather-related alerts from the U.S. National Weather Service. Upload and share your disaster photos to help out emergency managers. Save a custom list of the items in your family’s emergency kit, as well as the places you will meet in case of an emergency. Get tips on what to do before, during, and after over 20 types of disasters. And locate open shelters and where to talk to FEMA in person at Disaster Recovery Centers.


emergency app!Emergency! (iPhone)

You probably are aware that not all countries use 911 for the Police, Fire Department and Medical Services. If you travel a lot, but do not always have time to find out the important numbers of the country you are in, then this app is for you. Just install this emergency app on your phone and it will detect what country you are in, and dial the correct number in case you should need it.


Stay Connected:

EchoLink Shortwave (iPhone) (Android)

Please note: This app is for licensed Amateur Radio operators only. See for more information. EchoLink for iOS provides access to the EchoLink network for validated EchoLink users. You can use this app to connect to the EchoLink system from almost anywhere, using an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. If you are not already a validated EchoLink user, you will be required to register (using your Amateur Radio callsign and a password of your choice) the first time you run the app. Please see the iPhone FAQ at If you are interested in becoming a licensed Amateur Radio operator, see for more information.

Everyone can probably agree that the top priority in any disaster is finding your family. So whether you are trying to let them know you are ok, or re-uniting with everyone after a catastrophe, these apps will help you do that.


logoZello Walkie-Talkie app

Zello is a free push-to-talk application for smartphones, tablets, and PCs. It’s lightweight, easy to use and extremely fast. Better yet, it’s free and will remain free for personal use. Over 65 million users have downloaded Zello.  Try it on your Android, iPhone, Windows Phone,BlackBerry, PC or a mix!