TECH BYTE: Smartphone Apps Help with Natural Disaster Prep

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) — Natural disasters can strike any time of the year, so it’s good to be prepared.

There are some smartphone apps out there that can help.

“It’s just another tool to protect people in that kind of a situation,” said John Conely, an American Red Cross volunteer.

Conely says the American Red Cross has more than 15 apps for people to download on their smartphones, to help with any emergency situations.

“If you’re in an emergency like a hurricane or a tornado, which is timely for right now, you can reach out to loved ones, and they can transmit information to you about if they’re safe, or if they’re not safe,” Conely said.

He says these apps help people become better prepared.

“It will help you put together an emergency plan for your household, including what kind of food, supplies that you should put together and have in store as a storm or emergency approaches,” Conely said.

The apps cover hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, emergency alerts, and more.

Conely says many have the same capabilities, and type of information.

The Red Cross even has a Monster Guard app, where kids can learn how to stay safe in an emergency, practice what they learn, and share with friends and family.

“It takes younger children, and puts them into a role of a monster character, and then walks them through the things to do or not do if they’re in an emergency situation like a fire or a storm,” Conely said.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency also has its own app.

It provides safety notifications, and disaster resources – like finding emergency shelters nearby, and applying for disaster assistance.

These apps are all free, and easy to find.

Just search “American Red Cross,” or “FEMA” on your phone’s app store.

It’s also good to contact your local emergency management agency to see if they have any helpful apps of their own.

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