Hurricane Irene Reaches New York CityI don’t need to remind you of the devastation left behind by Hurricane Sandy and the resulting “super storm” that wiped out power and caused billions of dollars in damage. And it was just last year that we had the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami in Japan that led to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. Mother Nature can be incredibly powerful, so the only thing we can do is try to prepare ourselves for the worst case scenario.

Yes, it’s certainly important to have your own disaster preparedness kit in your home, but sometimes the best tool you can have is your smartphone. Sometimes it’s the only tool that you have. That’s why you should arm yourself with these natural disaster apps for iPhone and iPad. Playing Bad Piggies and Cut The Rope aren’t going to help you much, but these iPhone apps can literally mean the difference between life and death.

FEMA App

FEMA for iPhone

FEMA for iPhone

iTunes Store Link: Free

If you want to have the best possible information for what to do during a disaster, you really should turn to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). They’ve put out an official app that is filled with all sorts of useful preparedness information, as well as an interactive checklist for emergency kits, information on how to stay safe, and where you can find the FEMA Disaster Recovery Center location in your area.

Emergency Radio (Police Scanner)

Police Scanner App for iPhone

Police Scanner App for iPhone

iTunes Store Link: $0.99

Apps like TuneIn Radio are great for listening to music on your iPhone, but what if the commercial radio stations have been wiped out by a natural disaster? You can’t turn to them for emergency information, but you can tune into the local police scanners to get up to date information. Emergency Radio also has access to fire, EMS, air traffic, train, NOAA weather, coast guard, and even HAM radio frequencies.

Pocket First Aid & CPR

Save Lives with Pocket First Aid

Save Lives with Pocket First Aid

iTunes Store Link: $1.99

It certainly helps if you’ve received some first aid training, but even if you haven’t, this app could be the next best thing. It’s a simple guide with some first aid basics, as well as some information on how to perform CPR. This app was put out by the American Heart Association, so you know that it’s reasonably reliable and accurate. There are even 34 videos in here for further instruction.

Pet First Aid

Save Fido and Fluffy with Pet First Aid

Save Fido and Fluffy with Pet First Aid

iTunes Store Link: $3.99

Our furry friends need our help, too. You’ve surely seen the footage of abandoned pets in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, but what if you could save your dog or cat? There are helpful illustrations and videos for providing first aid to any canine or feline victims, including how to deal with cuts, choking, poisoning, and burns.

SOS-Pro

SOS-Pro Emergency iPhone App

SOS-Pro Emergency iPhone App

iTunes Store Link: $0.99

What if you get trapped under some rubble or otherwise can’t get to help yourself? This app will automatically broadcast your current location to your emergency contacts via text message or e-mail. The automated message contains not only your current location, but also a link to a map. Hopefully, one of your emergency contacts can get in touch with rescue personnel so they can find you.

Disaster Alert

Pacific Disaster Center's World Disaster Alerts

Pacific Disaster Center's World Disaster Alerts

iTunes Store Link: Free

Get the latest updates and information about natural disasters straight from the Pacific Disaster Center. You get a list and an interactive map of all the active hazards around the world, including hurricanes, droughts, earthquakes, volcanoes, floods, and wildfires. There’s also a push notification feature.

American Red Cross: Shelter View

Find American Red Cross Shelters with iPhone

Find American Red Cross Shelters with iPhone

iTunes Store Link: Free

You’re told you have to evacuate, but you have no idea where you should go. With this app from the American Red Cross, you can be directed to the closest shelter where you can find warmth and comfort. The information is live and updated in real time, including information about capacity and the current number of shelter residents.

Image credit: NASA Goddard Photo and Video / Flickr

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