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Apps to Help in a Disaster

FILE - Neighbors watch a bulldozer demolish earthquake-damaged homes in Pedernales, Ecuador, Saturday, April 23, 2016.
FILE - Neighbors watch a bulldozer demolish earthquake-damaged homes in Pedernales, Ecuador, Saturday, April 23, 2016.
Apps to Help in a Disaster
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Disasters almost always arrive unexpectedly. But there are computer apps to help people prepare for disasters. Some apps alert users when a disaster has taken place. Other disaster apps can be used when people need rescue or other help.

Apps to Alert Others When You Need Help

SirenGPS Mobile

The free SirenGPS Mobile app connects users to emergency services at the tap of the screen. The app will let emergency workers know where the person in need is.

The app works over cell networks. But it also works on Wi-Fi if cell networks are down after an emergency.

Users can create a personal health report on the app to share with emergency services. This will provide information about medicines users take, allergies they might have and other medical information important to treatment decisions.

SirenGPS Mobile on iPhone and iPad

SirenGPS Mobile on Android


Guardly is an app that can help keep people safer in places such as businesses and universities. This app permits workers and students to report about unsafe conditions, suspicious activity and more.

Reports can be made to an organization’s own security division as well as to government emergency services.

The reporter’s location can be sent with the report so security or emergency services help can arrive more quickly. The app works worldwide and Guardly can even find people within buildings, if the buildings are equipped with the right technology.

Organizations can also use Guardly to notify users of danger or ask if they need assistance and more.

This video shows how Guardly works:

The app is free, but Guardly charges for its services.

Guardly on iPhone and iPad

Guardly for Android


The Life360 app provides a service to keep loved ones connected. Users can set up a network of people to share their location, chat, and get alerts when they are near someone in their network. People in the same network can use the app on iPhone and Android devices.

The app helps users communicate when they are in a disaster. The location share function can be suspended when desired.

The Life360 app is free, with some services available for a fee.

Life360 on iPhone and iPad

Life360 on Android

Red Panic Button

When a person is in a dangerous situation, the Red Panic Button app might help. This app can send a text message and/or email to chosen contacts providing the user’s location. You can also add a voice or video message and/or photo to your text and email.

This app can also be used to contact emergency services.

Red Panic Button is free, but extra features are available for a fee.

Red Panic Button app on iPhone and iPad

Red Panic Button on Android

Apps to Alert You of Disasters

Disaster Alert

The Disaster Alert app is from the Pacific Disaster Center. It lets users know of disasters around the world when they happen. Alerts will be sent about volcano eruptions, earthquakes, floods and more. Disaster areas around the world are shown on a map, and reported in a list view.

The app is free with paid features available.

Disaster Alert for iPhone and iPad

Disaster Alert on Android

First Aid by American Red Cross

The free First Aid app by the American Red Cross helps guide users in giving aid to injured people. The app can also help prepare for disaster with information to help plan for drought, flood, storms and more.

Watch videos and take quizzes within the app. Users can switch the app from English to Spanish.

This video shows how the app works:

First Aid by American Red Cross iPhone and iPad

First Aid by American Red Cross for Android

Global Emergency Overview App

The Global Emergency Overview App gives weekly information about natural disasters and humanitarian crises around the world. Search by map or a list of countries.

The developer says the app is designed to answer questions about humanitarian disasters. The information includes the location and nature of current humanitarian crises and help in judging need levels among crises.

The app is available free on:

Global Emergency Overview on Android

Global Emergency Overview on iPhone

Humanitarian Kiosk

The United Nations has a similar app at no cost. The Humanitarian Kiosk app gives information about humanitarian crises around the world. Users can choose geographic areas and follow current information from those areas.

Humanitarian Kiosk app for iPhone and iPad

Humanitarian Kiosk app for Android

Real Time Warning/Earthquakes

Get information about disasters around the world with the Real Time Warning app, also known as Earthquakes. See a list of disasters or look at the map. The app shows users the severity of the disaster and lets users involved in a disaster share their experiences.

The app is free with a fee for alert notifications.

Real Time Warning/Earthquakes app on Android

Earthquake Alert!

The free Earthquake Alert! app notifies you of earthquakes above 1.0 in the U.S. and 4.5 in the rest of the world. See the earthquakes on a map or a list. Tap an earthquake to find out more about it, including news reports on the event.

Earthquake Alert on Android

Related article: App Feels Earthquakes Through Mobile Phones

I’m Dorothy Gundy.

Carolyn Mohr wrote this report for VOA Learning English. Caty Weaver was the editor.

Have you made preparations in case of an emergency? Which disaster apps do you think you would find most helpful?

Share your thoughts in the Comments Section below or on our Facebook page.


Words in This Story

emergency - n. an unexpected and usually dangerous situation that calls for immediate action

function - n. the special purpose or activity for which a thing exists or is used

drought - n. a long period of time during which there is very little or no rain

humanitarian - adj. related to helping people's lives



Disaster Apps Infographics
Disaster Apps Infographics

*Infographic used with permission of Nature's Water