the last 20 years have seen a raise in the amount of climate-related disasters and the destruction they cause. Preparing for natural disasters, including unexpected ones, is increasingly crucial. For example, in February 2021, Texas experienced its worst winter storm in decades, resulting in power outages statewide. A growing number of apps on the market give detailed instructions on how to prepare for natural disasters months in advance and what to do in an emergency.
As responsible for my family contingency planning since fourth grade I have been using Red Cross checklists for years, I have learned to pack strong emergency kits, and I recently included apps in my prep. To get an expert opinion on the best (and worst) features of the app, I spoke to two experts, Caela O’Connell, Assistant Professor in the Anthology Department at UNC-Chapel Hill, and Mitch stripling, an emergency preparedness expert and former deputy agency commissioner of preparedness and response for the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
Here is what I learned and the apps recommended by the experts.
FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) is known to help Americans during natural disasters, but did you know they also have an app to help prepare before, during and after an event? Information on over 20 emergencies, from avalanches to winter conditions, is available. O’Connell advises you to take screenshots of these tips to save phone battery in a real emergency.
The app is also linked to key numbers like 911 and FEMA, so whether you are preparing yourself just in case you are in danger, you can get help all in one place. In the aftermath of a flood, instructions on how to start your flood insurance claim are also available, ensuring your safety and financial viability.