Winter storms can leave you stranded far from home or stuck inside without power. This type of energy emergency may require you to seek help immediately. That’s when you turn to your trusty smartphone. Having one (or more) of these disaster relief mobile apps at the ready means you have the power in your hand – just a few clicks away.
FEMA Mobile App
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has developed an impressive mobile app experience, which provides emergency preparedness tips for nearly any situation – from home fires to tsunamis. It also features a map of local disaster recovery shelters and a Disaster Reporter map. The Disaster Reporter map functions much the same as Lantern Live, where it relies on crowdsourcing to supply and share photos that illustrate critical information for first-responders and fellow citizens. You can download the free FEMA app for your Android or iPhone.
The Lantern Live app allows you to look up the nearest operational gas station, find fuel, and view power outage maps. Using the clout of crowdsourcing and open data, Lantern Live calls on the people of a disaster-stricken community to provide updates and pertinent details. You’ll find real-time pictures and comments depicting the severity of a flooded road, while also being able to view local power outages and read useful tips on how to safely handle an emergency. Lantern Live is free but currently available only for Android users.
Red Cross Everyday Apps
First Aid, Blood, Flood, Tornado, Earthquake, Wildfire, Hurricane, Shelter Finder and Pet First Aid
The Red Cross has a family of mobile apps, each focused on a different type of emergency situation. The Tornado App, for instance, provides step-by-step instructions of what to do even if the power is out and cell towers are down. You can also opt into push notifications to alert you when tornado warnings have expired, which is especially helpful when you have no power to watch local news. You can learn more and download any of the free Red Cross apps here.
Winter Survival Kit
Many people living in colder climates already have a survival kit packed in their car. If you don’t, this app provides a list of everything you need on hand in case of an emergency. On top of that, Winter Survival Kit will track your location should you get stranded in the middle of nowhere and need help contacting emergency services. The app’s Gas Calculator comes in handy by estimating how long you can run your engine with the fuel you have left in the tank. To help protect you from carbon monoxide poisoning, you’ll get an alert every 30 minutes to turn off your car and check the exhaust pipe for snow buildup. Get it free on iTunes.
Power Outage Alarm Pro
For those with second homes or week-long travel plans, Power Outage Alarm Pro is extremely useful. It notifies you via text message or audible alert if any electrical equipment suffers a power cut while you’re away from home. The most popular uses include monitoring a fridge/freezer, fish tank, sump pump and heating system. Power Outage offers simple peace of mind when you download it on your Android device for $3.99.
You can also check apps from local power companies, such as Ready Virginia, OCFL Alert and CenterPoint Energy. These serve very specific markets, but their growing popularity could bring more targeted assistance to an area near you.
See Also: Fall and Winter Energy Saving Tips