There are apps and websites for just about anything you can imagine and the same is true for Preparedness. Here is just a sampling of the many apps and websites that can help you be better prepared:
The Emergency Prep app from FEMA alerts you to natural disasters and tells you where nearby shelters and other services are. You can use the app to help you develop your personal emergency plan. I like FEMA for the online resources. FEMA offers much more than the Emergency Prep app. They also have lots of online tools and tips that can help you both prepare and recover from a disaster. There’s a very helpful section on preparedness for children. Their pages on pandemics are the best resource on the topic.
My one complaint: since this is a government website, there’s a heavy emphasis on using the government during and after a disaster. And we’re working towards self-reliance, right?
The best variety of emergency-related apps has to be the American Red Cross. They have apps for just about every type of emergency: fire, flood, tornado, earthquake, as well as apps on first aid and first aid for pets. My favorite is Emergency! This all-inclusive app lets you monitor more than 35 different severe weather and emergency alerts. You can enter the phone numbers of friends and family members around the country and it will alert you if they are facing any of these emergencies in their area. Monster Guard is a fun and creative app designed for children. It helps children see the need for preparedness. The app gives them information and skills to feel more secure should a disaster arise
My one complaint: With the Emergency! app, you won’t get just one alert. Every. Single. Time. they update the emergency you’ll get an alert. This is helpful for nearby emergencies. But if you want to follow emergencies your friends and family are facing, your phone will will get tons (TONS!) of alerts.
Keep all your key information together
MyRedFolder has family emergency plans and cloud storage for you to catalog and track virtually everything you’ll need in case of an emergency: family pictures, home inventory, medical information, financial information, preparedness for pets and more. I don’t think there’s any aspect of preparedness that they haven’t taken into account. There are two plans. The limited plan is free and can be downloaded from the app store. The premium plan costs $99/yr. There’s a special discount just for PHC readers: send an email to My Red Folder ( [email protected] ) with “MRF Provident Home Companion” in the subject line and you will receive a coupon code for a 20% discount.
An app for every situation
NDSU has an excellent Emergency Management Department. Their undergrad program is ranked #11 in the nation and their PhD program is ranked #1. So it stands to reason that they would be a leader in developing disaster-related apps. And they deliver. One of their unique apps is their Winter Survival Kit. And they have other apps not to be missed: Disaster Recovery Log and Disaster Recovery for Small Businesses. Use this Recovery Log app and your phone’s camera, to document property damage. It will help speed the claim and recovery process following a disaster.
Useful Knot Tying Guide is just what it says: step-by-step illustrations on how to tie just about any knot you will need. Lots of knots, all of them well-illustrated. This is a great app for the hiker, survivalist, camper or Boy Scout.
Offline Survival Manual. What good is an app if you can’t get cell service? This is a great app with tons (TONS!) of helpful information that you can access even if you don’t have cell or internet service. Over 12,000 reviewers have given it 4.7/5 stars. It’s a winner.
Home Remedies+ can be a big help when you can’t get to the doctor or pharmacy. It has a rating of 4.3/5 with over 15,000 reviews. It provides medically sound advice on how to treat 100 of the most common ailments using ingredients you likely already have in your home.
Food Storage Assistant helps you track and manage your food storage inventory. It starts with a food calculator, with recommendations for the basic food storage requirements. This is calculated on the age and number of people in your household. Then you can add, edit and delete inventory with ease. It also helps you sort your food storage by expiration date. This is essential for proper rotation. Then it notifies you when items in your meal planning are about to expire. It is flexible enough that you can add your family favorites but that are not on the standard list. The app is free, or you can buy the Pro version, which lets you back up and export inventory information, for $1.99.
Ready.gov is my favorite government-sponsored preparedness site because it focuses on PEOPLE being prepared, not what the government can do for you in the event of a disaster. Ready.gov began as a national public service campaign. It’s purpose is to educate and empower the American people to prepare for, respond to and mitigate natural and man-made disasters. They encourage people to do four things:
(1) stay informed about the different types of emergencies that could occur and their appropriate responses.
(2) make a family emergency plan.
(3) build an emergency supply kit.
(4) get involved in your community by taking action to prepare for emergencies. (Kinda what we do here at PHC, right?)
This site has great information for families trying to develop an emergency plan. If you have young children, you’ll appreciate the on-line games they have to help children be prepared. If you’re just getting started, this is a good resource to start with.
If you want to know what the weather is (especially dangerous or severe weather), weather.gov is the place to start. This is the official site of the National Weather Service and NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.) Their goal is to have a weather-ready nation where communities across the country are ready, responsive, and resilient to weather, water, and climate threats. So in addition to up-to-date weather information, they have lots of weather-related safety information.
For the most accurate and up-to-date information on disasters in North Dakota, you’ll want to go to NDResponse.gov. This site provides real-time updates and information on major, pressing incidents impacting North Dakota citizens.
The internet is a treasure-trove of learning. But if you want to tailor your learning to emergencies, EDEN (Extension Disaster Emergency Network) should be the place to start. EDEN is a network of USDA Extension offices around the country, NOAA, and several universities. It offers online courses covering a wide variety of topics on emergency preparedness. If you want in-depth information, this is a great place to start. I particularly like their course on family preparedness. While you’re on that page, be sure to click the “resource dashboard” to see all the classes that they offer. There is a LOT we can learn to be better prepared and this site does a great job of helping us do just that.
Now, you are blessed and do not have to deal with a natural disaster. Then maybe you’ll want to volunteer to help those who are trying to recover. JustServe.org is a great way to connect with service organizations and find where you can help. Just enter the zip code or area you would like to help. This site will put you in touch with those that need your help.