Toronto was hit with a major storm last week. The seemingly biblical downpour produced power outages, flooded subway tunnels, and made streets unnavigable. My fellow Torontonians were all urged to stay indoors until the storm passed. But the weather-induced retreat did offer me any opportunity to research and compile a list of essential apps for dealing with emergency situations like this storm-of-the-year...
Left: Smart ICE4Family - Right: Spot Connect
Whether you have pre-existing conditions, suffer from serious allergies, or even if you're perfectly healthy, the information available via the ICE4Family app should be considered an essential. Users can store the medical information of up to 8 individuals: their current state, medication requirements, allergies, insurance info, emergency contacts, preferred hospital, immunizations, medical history, etc., all for paramedics to quickly look over in case of an emergency. An extremely helpful feature is the alert EMS mode, which will call paramedics and delivers exact GPS coordinates for users in dire need. $3 - Also available for Android / Windows Phone
Before, during, or after a disaster, getting the word out quickly to friends and family can be difficult. TextPlus is a massively popular 3rd party text messaging alternative which creates an alternative phone number that users can send texts from (using a data connection). Group messaging can make it easier to alert multiple contacts, especially helpful to let family know if you need help or made it home safely.
Left: Disaster Alert - Right: Pocket First Aid and CPR
Stay ahead of the next natural disaster: Disaster Alert is an international broadcast service which notifies users of "Active Hazards" from around the globe, including hurricanes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, and even wildfires. The app proves particularly helpful in keeping people with internationally based loved ones informed about the state and conditions from afar, especially when reaching friends/family may prove impossible until the situation has passed. Free - Also available for iOS
Think of the Pocket First Aid and CPR app as a Cliff's Notes for emergency care. Instead of panicking, the guidebook app will aid users to keep their composure and deal with a wide variety of first aid treatments. Want proof of this app's utility? Dan Woolley credited Pocket First Aid in helping him survive 65 hours buried under rubble after the catastrophe in Haiti. $2 - Also available for iOS
Left: Emergency Kit - Right: PetTech PetSaver
I consider Emergency Kit a must download for any Windows Phone device. The app is a personal medical profile, an emergency contact database, a first aid handbook, an SOS light beacon, and a GPS-based emergency alert which can send emergency services to your precise location during an accident or disaster. The interface is thoughtfully designed for ease and navigation, streamlined to make finding relevant information one less thing to worry about when faced with adversity. Free
We all love our furry friends, but do you know what to do in the event of choking or an accident involving your pet? They deserve the same thoughtful preparation in advance as any member of the family, which makes the PetTech PetSaver app worth a purchase and download for Windows Phone, iPhone, and Android users. PetSaver comes fully loaded with general health information related to cats and dogs, as well as common pet-related ailments and emergency information: swallowing poisonous items, checking breathing/vitals, and proper methods of restraint. $5 - Also available for iOS / Android
(Images: mike_expert/Shutterstock; as linked above)