Free Press Journal

Turn your phone into a life-saving


When disaster strikes, you’ll fare better if you’ve stocked 72 hours’ worth of water and nonperishable food, a battery-powered radio, flashlight, first-aid kit, extra batteries, local maps, a cell phone with chargers, and a backup battery. But what’s on your mobile phone may be just as valuable. You can pull up Google’s Public Alerts to start, and then check out our top 17 apps to help you before, during, and after the next emergency — whether it’s a hurricane, earthquake, wildfire, or flooding. Many of them work online and off!


Weather Underground – AndroidiOS

Weather Underground is a crowdsourced information app that brings hyperlocal weather forecasts to your smartphone. You’ll also find photos, interactive radar data, and satellite maps.

Disaster Alert – AndroidiOS

Get notified about upcoming hurricanes, tropical cyclones, tsunamis, as well as floods, storms, and wildfires, so you’re not taken by surprise.

First Aid by American Red Cross – AndroidiOS

Get invaluable, life-saving tips and instructions to help you and others survive everyday emergencies and natural disasters — such as hurricanes, earthquakes, and tornadoes — with the official American Red Cross first aid app. American Red Cross also has a slew of apps to help you during specific disasters, including Tornado (Android, iOS), Flood (Android, iOS), and Hurricane (Android, iOS).



Trusted Contacts – AndroidiOS

Just add your loved ones and allow them to request your location. You can share your whereabouts proactively or when requested. If you’re unable to respond to requests, then your last known location is shared automatically, even if you’re offline or out of battery.

Find My Family, Friends & Phone – Life360 Locator – AndroidiOS

Life360’s Family & Friend Locator uses GPS location data to inform you where your registered friends and family are in real time.

Emergency: Alerts & Notifications – AndroidiOS

Track the places you care about with real-time disaster alerts or monitor loved ones with in-app messaging.

Red Panic Button – AndroidiOS

Set a panic number of your choice and generate a message or email containing your location, quickly determined using your GPS- or GSM-based coordinates.



Facebook – AndroidiOS

Facebook may be a source for fake news, but it’s also a great way to notify you that your loved ones are safe, courtesy of the Safety Check feature. So make sure to mark yourself as safe as soon as you are.

FEMA – AndroidiOS

You’ve survived the disaster, but now what? The FEMA app, developed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, ensures that you find local relief centers to access key services, shelter, and more.