Disaster Apps That Will Save Your Ass

Your cellphone can do more than order up an Uber, find a Tinder date or check out how many likes the Facebook post about your corn dog has gotten. As Justin and I mentioned in episode 10, your cellphone is a piece of lifesaving equipment. It actually has the ability to save your ass, but only if you have the right apps already installed and know how to use them.

The Apps

In this brief post we will only look at two of the many disaster preparedness apps that are out there.

  1. The Red Cross

  2. FEMA

The Red Cross

Let’s discuss the free Red Cross apps first. And full disclosure, I was the Regional Manager for Preparedness and Government Ops for the state of Tennessee. So I admit, I am a little biased towards these apps. During my tenure I encouraged the citizens of my state to get the apps provided by the Red Cross, they are on my phone and I recommend that you get them on yours.

Some of the free Disaster Preparedness Apps available from the Red Cross. [Photo Credit: redcross.org]

Some of the free Disaster Preparedness Apps available from the Red Cross. [Photo Credit: redcross.org]

If disaster preparedness ain’t your bag then you have many other ways to be prepared. The Red Cross offers an amazing First Aid app, as well as one for Pet First Aid. According to their website some of the features of their First Aid app include:

  • Simple step-by-step instructions for everyday first aid scenarios

  • Prioritized steps to take during an emergency, with a 9-1-1 call button

  • Sharable badges to be unlocked through interactive quizzes

  • Videos and animations to make learning first aid fun and easy

  • Safety and preparedness tips for a range of severe weather

  • Preloaded content that gives instant access to all safety information at any time.

The content on the app is available in English, as well as Spanish. Also, I’d be remiss if I didn’t include this caveat, downloading this app or any app is no substitute for great hands on training. To learn more about the training provided by the American Red Cross or register for a course click here.


In the capacity of an Emergency Services Coordinator I trained with, and worked alongside The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). From my experience the men and women that make up FEMA are hard working people doing a difficult and thankless job. Are they perfect — no. Neither are any of us. However, if you aren’t a FEMA fan, that’s cool, be prepared and you won’t need to rely upon them.

According to FEMA’s website their Disaster App has the following features:

  • Receive real-time alerts from the National Weather Service for up to five locations nationwide.

  • Learn emergency safety tips for over 20 types of disasters, including fires, flooding, hurricanes, snowstorms, tornadoes, volcanoes and more.

  • Locate open emergency shelters and disaster recovery centers in your area where you can talk to a FEMA representative in person.

  • Prepare for disasters with a customizable emergency kit checklist, emergency family plan, and reminders.

  • Connect with FEMA to register for disaster assistance online.

  • Upload and share disaster photos through Disaster Reporter.

  • Toggle between English and Spanish.

  • Follow the FEMA blog to learn about the work FEMA does across the United States.


Once again, an app is not an adequate replacement for training. Believe it or not, FEMA offers much more than apps, they also offer a huge suite of free courses in Disaster Response and Preparedness. They can be found here.


Don’t let the next disaster catch you and your family off guard, get the training, download the app and you won’t just survive, you will thrive.

Remember, be safe. But when you can’t be safe… Be dangerous.

Ralph Brown