Be prepared for natural disasters with these iPhone apps

by Megan O'Neil

As Typhoon Haiyan bombarded the Philippines recently, those in its path scrambled to assemble the appropriate emergency supplies, if given the option. Preparation is everything. So don’t let a hurricane, an earthquake or a fire for that matter, catch you off guard. Charge your iPhone, download these apps and be ready.

In order to keep up with natural disasters around the globe, check out the free Disaster Alert app. It provides a comprehensive collection of active hazards around the globe. If you see something of interest or concern, you can get more detailed information about the level of emergency and the community that has been impacted by it.

If you live an area prone to specific types of disasters, there are numerous apps that can help. For earthquakes, check out the Earthquakes app by Hamway ($1.99). It monitors all seismic activity around the globe, and then automatically connects you to the U.S. Geological Survey website. For tsunamis there is the $0.99 iTsunami app which tracks all tsunami warnings, notifying you even before the sirens go off.

Information and alerts are important, but so is preparation. Public safety officials recommend that all families have enough food, water and other supplies on hand to survive independently for at least 72 hours. The Disaster Survival Complete Guide app ($0.99) is a great starting point for planning purposes. It offers a full rundown on what you can expect about everything from evacuations to cleared-out grocery store shelves.

The Survival Kit app ($3.99) is another useful app for disaster preparation. And what makes it stand apart is that it really goes into specifics, right down to precise products. For example, when thinking of water supplies, the app recommends three liters of water per person, plus rainwater collection equipment and a seawater desalination kit. There are tips on emergency kits for home, car and on-the-go.

The $1.99 Pocket First Aid & CPR from the American Heart Association app is also a good investment.  It shows you how to respond to emergency situations such as choking, bites, seizures and so on. It also includes treatments for a wide range of injuries including cuts and wounds.