By Paula Bostrom on Thu, 03/06/2014
March is Red Cross Month and it's a chance to honor American Red Cross's mission to bring help and hope to people in need. According to redcross.org, the American Red Cross is part of the world's largest volunteer network found in 187 countries. Ten million people learn emergency skills through the Red Cross every year.
The American Red Cross has developed several apps to help individuals and communities receive the best information from natural disasters to first aid.
These nine apps will help prepare your family, home, and pets with the latest safety information.
1. Earthquake (Free)
If you live in an earthquake-prone area this app provides information to help prepare your family and home and come up with an emergency game plan for when an earthquake occurs. It gives instructions for what do to during an earthquake (drop, cover, and hold on) and right after an earthquake occurs (check for gas leaks), as well as how to recover from one. It also lets you know of any earthquakes that occurred in your area that you may or may not have felt. After looking at the app, I had no idea an minor earthquake happened a few days ago just 100 miles from me. Of course it didn't have any effect on me, but it was still interesting to know.
2. Tornado (Free)
The American Red Cross Tornado App could very well save your life by sending real-time tornado alerts for your area. One reviewer on the iTunes Store even stated this app once gave a tornado warning alarm even before being notified on their TV. It gives prioritized instruction actions for before, during, and after a tornado. Other life-saving features include an in-app strobe light, flashlight, and audible alert functions.
3. Hurricane (Free)
This app is rated as one of the top five apps to get you through a natural disaster by Fox News and as one of the top six hurricane tracking apps by CNN. Track the path of a hurricane with the app's interactive storm tracker. There are instructions for preparing your family and home for a major storm, finding help and letting others know you are safe. You can also view an illustrated history of hurricanes in your area.
4. Wildfires (Free)
Living in the Western United States, I have seen my share of wildfires every summer. Some too close for comfort and some hundreds of miles away that still filled my area's air with smoke. This app gives you the latest wildfire news for your area, including road closures and evacuation information. It helps you make a plan to be prepared for the worst, such as where your animals will go if evacuation is necessary.
5. Shelter View (Free)
The American Red Cross Shelter View gives daily, updated information on where to find shelter during disasters. The app shows shelter locations, capacity, current number of shelter residents, and the date and time of the last update for each activated shelter.
6. First Aid (Free)
This app features basic instructions to guide you through everyday first aid scenarios such as how to treat burns, stings and bites, or even steps to take after calling 911 for more serious conditions such as strokes and heart attacks. It gives suggestions for stocking an emergency kit and what to do during power outages. You can also take quizzes to test your first aid knowledge.
7. Pet First Aid ($0.99)
As a former veterinary technician, I think this app provides good information for traveling with your pet, giving your pet medication or how to improve its health and well-being. You can learn how to give CPR to your pet with step-by-step instructions and a video clip. The app is good to familiarize yourself with what to do in emergency situations, but it does not substitute for the treatment a veterinarian will provide. In fact, every emergency example ends with an instruction to take your pet immediately to a vet. To that end, you can enter your vet's phone number into the app to place a call and the app can also locate vet hospitals nearby in case you have an emergency while traveling with your pet.
8. Swim (Free)
If you're a parent this app is a good source of information to help your child become a confident swimmer and track swimming progress. It gives important safety tips to prevent drownings and what to do during emergencies. There are games to play with your kids and interactive quizzes. In addition, it will help you locate nearby swimming lessons for your child.
9. Team Red Cross (Free)
Join the American Red Cross and help provide care and comfort to your local community when disaster strikes. Team Red Cross accepts people with various talents and skill levels. Everyone can offer something special and make a difference in supporting their community. You can create an account by using Facebook or your email address and then accept missions as needed in your local community. If you can't provide help in person, you can volunteer to provide online help by using social media to relay important information.