As Hurricane Irene makes her way up the East Coast, these essential mobile apps for iOS and Android can give you peace of mind--and critical information.
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Hurricane season is officially underway in the eastern U.S., with Irene pushing her way up the coast throughout the weekend. If the winds are headed your way, this would be a good time to load up your smartphone with useful apps to help you track the storm, prepare for the worst, cope with emergencies as they arise, and get your life back on track when the storm passes.
As a hurricane approaches, it's critical to know where it is, how fast it's moving, and when to expect it in your area. Hurricane for iPhone and Hurricane HD for iPad give you active updates of storm conditions, complete with essential projections and storm strength information. For Android users, the cleverly named Hurricane Software offers similar features to keep you up to date on storm conditions in real time.
Before a storm hits, convert your phone into an emergency ID system with Emergency Info+ for iOS. Fill this simple app with your contact info, emergency contacts, health and allergy information, and then activate its wallpaper feature to present your vital information right on the phone's wallpaper screen. That way, if you're injured or incapacitated in any way, emergency workers will be able to get your essential information directly from your device without having to hunt for it. On Android devices, ICE: In Case of Emergency offers the same functionality.
Once the storm hits your area, you'll be lucky to get any phone service at all, much less a reliable data connection. At that point, you need apps that can help you cope with the uncertainty of hurricane conditions and prepare for any emergencies that may arise. One of the most essential apps for this is Emergency First Aid & Treatment for iOS, which offers a comprehensive database of first aid advice for handling everything from blunt trauma to broken bones, hypothermia, and burns. For Android, Phoneflips Emergency First Aid Guide provides a nearly identical resource. It's worth noting that neither of these apps should be considered a replacement for actual first aid training from a qualified organization such as the American Red Cross, but the apps provide an invaluable resource for refreshing your first aid knowledge as you head into a potential crisis.
Speaking of the Red Cross, if you have an iOS device, you'll want to avail yourself of the American Red Cross Shelter View app, which helps you locate your nearest Red Cross shelter should you need assistance or a safe place to sit out the crisis.
For After the Storm
Once the storm passes, you may have some property damage to address. If you do, you'll want to have a good home inventory to help you deal with your insurance company. Home Inventory Photo Remote for iOS lets you quickly capture the important items for your home inventory by snapping a picture with your iPhone's camera, and it includes a barcode scanner to identify products instantly. If you take some time to capture an inventory of important items before the storm hits, you'll be in a better position to recover or replace lost or damaged property afterward. A good counterpart for Android users is MyHome Pro, which also includes the essential barcode scanner feature.
Of course, we hope that if the hurricane is heading your way, you'll stay safe and dry with or without these apps. But if you have some time to prepare yourself with the right tech, it should bring you peace of mind and--we hope--keep you a little safer through the rough weather.
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