You may be surprised to find out Red Cross develops its own mobile apps of life-saving quality, and truth be told, the content and UI of the apps leave many other reputable developers far behind. Even though these apps are not the most exciting entries on the app stores, they are the ones you wish you had the last time your town was hit by a tornado, or an earthquake, or a forest fire. You will use these apps to tech your kids how to swim, help your pets with health issues, or maybe even save someone’s life in times of accidents. Nearly all apps have an English and Spanish version, in case you were wondering, and except for the pets app, all come free of charge and look splendid.
People never think of an emergency before it hits them, but those who happened to survive any emergency, be it a car crash or a burglary, know better. They prepare for things that never should happen in the first place, but if there is an app that can teach you the basics of first aid scenarios, why not have it?
The app features full 911 integration, so users can call EMS from it. First aid comes loaded with animations and videos that explain better than any succinct instruction. The most valuable, though, is the gallery of case scenarios covered in the app – tornadoes, earthquakes, hurricanes, severe winters and more, beefed up with interactive quizzes and badges for younger learners. The content comes preloaded, so users have access to it when offline.
Blood App [App Store, Google Play]
This app was specifically designed for blood donors, and it lets them schedule appointments, keep track of their donations and earn rewards, as well as invite their friends to join. There is always a need of good fresh blood, so if you support the cause, install this indispensable and unique app. Blood app lets you set appointment reminders, locate local blood drives, track your blood donations, get notified of special blood shortage alerts, claim rewards from retailers, recruit other donor and create teams, climb donor leaderboards and rate donation experience.
If your cat ever delivered kittens on your matrimonial bed, you must know how it feels when the animal expects you to know what to do while you are clueless and freaked out. Educate yourself on the basics of pet first aid with this Red Cross app that puts vet advice for everyday emergencies in your smartphone.
As with other apps, Pet First Aid features interactive quizzes, videos and step-by-step instructions that can be life-saving for your pet. It only has guides for cats and dogs, and will guide you through the basics of medicine administration, disaster situations, behavior help and more. It has an early warning sign checker for preventive care, and features first aid instructions for 25 emergency situations, including size specific CPR, toxic substances tutorial, an option to locate your nearest vet emergency hospital, how-to videos, multiple customizable pet profiles, appointment scheduler, badges and quizzes.
Team Red Cross [Apple App Store or Google Play]
If you always wanted to save humanity, how about starting small and joining a Team Red Cross and contributing to your community’s safety and wellbeing in times of need? More than a million of Americans join in each year to help victims of natural disasters, and it usually happens so that a huge disaster calls to action of hundreds of volunteers at a moment’s notice.
You can join and contribute irrespective of your background and skills – there is always something to do – disaster assessment, bulk distribution, feeding. The app features video how-to’s and job briefings, push notifications for disaster alerts in your area, badges for activities like recruiting more volunteers and building teams, sharing recovery information to those who need it right from the app.
Finally, something fun – Swim app will help parents guide their children through the delicate process of learning how to swim, keeping their kids motivated while providing parents with swimming safety guidance. The app is also a companion to the Learn-to-Swim program and Preschool Aquatics.
Swim features fun badges to reward kids’ achievements, clean UI to keep track of your kids’ learning progress and see which topics with interactive quizzes and videos they cover; a special kids section; tips for parents to diversify their swimming lessons and, of course, swimming safety rules for different environments – pools, rivers, lakes and oceans.
Yellowstone keeps Americans tense several times a year; Iceland breathes in smoking lava regularly; Central and Latin Americas is a danger zone volcano-wise, while Cyprus and Japan are steadily sinking for the past few centuries. If you live in one of the planet’s many places that are located on tectonically unstable zones, you must be familiar with that awe that begins somewhere in your stomach as you feel your bed move along with the house.
Get ready for the next Nature’s surprise with this Earthquake app. It will send alerts and notifications for earthquakes (when available, I heard the prediction technology is still inaccurate), help you prepare your family, get help, or let your family know you are ok when an earthquake happens. The app features downloadable detailed instructions for before, during and after an earthquake, the United States Geological Survey enabled earthquake notifications, data on shaking impact, customizable ‘I’m safe’ alert for email, SMS, Facebook and Twitter, a database of Red Cross shelters.
You will learn how to assemble a quick survival emergency kit for your family for events like evacuation and power outages, how to work out an emergency plan and have your family calm and focused, what to do about food and water when your area is hit by an earthquake, flood and power outage.
This hurricane tracker app will let you monitor weather conditions in your area and prepare your family and belongings, get help and let your family know you are ok when the disaster happens. This app works pretty much like the above Earthquake app, but features content specific to hurricanes. It taps into NOAA weather channel and sends you location-specific alerts for the United States – shareable on social networks. You can also monitor your friends’ and family areas and get alerts. Emergency plan, survival kit and video tutorials for hurricanes are included and available when you are offline.
This app echoes the above-mentioned two, with tornado alerts coming from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), but with an awesome, and terrifying, feature – your phone will go off in a blood-chilling siren when NOAA issues a tornado alert, even if the app is closed. Even when the siren expires, you will keep receiving push notifications. Shelter addresses, emergency plans, survival kits list and plenty of life-saving preloaded content is available offline.
The Flood app includes instructions on what to do in case of a flood – prioritized actions for before, during and after flood – preloaded and available even when cell towers are off. Notifications and warnings from NOAA, ‘I’m ok’ customizable message to family, shelters map and all the perks from the previous apps, including tutorials on what to do about drinking water and food when infrastructures collapse, survival kit list and emergency plan.
Wildfire App [Apple App Store or in Google Play]
Wildfires are by far the ones to get people to panic when the smoke fills areas miles around. The app will send you alerts and notifications for your area, instruct on how to prepare your family and pets and what to do before, during and after a wildfire. You can send your family a ‘I’m ok’ customizable email, text or message, get access to shelter locations and addresses of firefighter agencies, as well as their Twitter feeds for the most up-to-date information.
An in-built click to call 511 network for updates on traffic in case of evacuation will help choose the less blocked route.
The Red Cross opens more shelters in times of disasters, so having an updated map of shelter locations and contact information can be crucial. The app features disaster news, a map and list view for shelters while the locations are pulled from the National Shelter System, updated regularly.