Tech Review: Apps for hurricane season
August marks the beginning of the three most active months for Atlantic hurricanes and tropical storms. With Irene in 2011 and Sandy last year still fresh in Long Islanders' minds, these apps can help you prepare for the next storm, keep you safe while it's raging and help you recover when it's over.
(iOS, Android; free)
The American Red Cross developed this hurricane tracker using data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. When a hurricane bears down, the app tracks the storm and displays a continually updated list of shelters. To let loved ones know you are weathering the storm, the app can send the message "I'm safe" via email and instant message or post it to your Twitter or Facebook page.
Having an inventory of your belongings can make it easier to get them replaced if a disaster ravages your home. With this app, you can create a database of furniture, jewelry, electronics, appliances and other possessions. Using your device's camera, the app can snap each item and store the image in the inventory list. A free "lite" version allows inventory of a limited number of items. iOS users can check out the similar MyStuff2 ($4.99), which also has a free "lite" version.
Pocket First Aid & CPR
(iOS, Android; $1.99)
If there's an injury or a health crisis during a storm and you can't summon immediate help, this app from the American Heart Association has lifesaving advice. Information on a wide number of health problems are covered. The lessons offer separate instructions for administering CPR to adults, children and infants. The app is mostly straightforward text, but you can also access videos and photos.
(iOS, Android; free)
The official app from the Federal Emergency Management Agency has tips on preparing for several types of disasters, but it's when a catastrophic event strikes that it becomes most useful. After the storm, temporary FEMA recovery centers where survivors can get relief services are displayed on a map. The newly updated app includes a "disaster reporter" tool, allowing you to upload GPS-tagged photos from a disaster area to a publicly accessible map.