Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Apps That Can Help Residents Stay Safe During a Natural Disaster - Guest Post By H. Davis

When nature unleashes its fury on your neighborhood, it’s never a bad idea to have some sort of action plan in place. That’s because when it comes to preparing for natural disasters in places like Canada, boarding up windows and making sure you have clean water isn’t what saves your life in the long run — it’s the information you have access to.

That said, as weather patterns become more extreme and unforeseeable due to things like climate change and natural disasters, there becomes a growing need for residents to be aware of possible threats. Although disasters were once viewed as events that only took place in remote locations, the reality is, disasters can be felt from anywhere.

Fortunately, due to the advent of social media and internet-connected wearable devices like Fitbits and smartwatches, keeping people up to date and connected is now easier than ever before. This means that during an emergency, both the internet and social media can become some of the most vital tools for residents in affected communities to rely on since they provide survivors with constant updates.

But how can technological devices like smartphones help during an emergency? Here are three ways apps and technological devices can help residents during a natural disaster:

First Aid Apps:

Have you ever found yourself in a scary situation, wishing you had some sort of first-aid guide to reference to make sure you’re doing things right? Truthfully, many people would lose their train of thought if they experienced someone getting injured and would possibly second-guess any first-aid training they had in the past. Luckily, if you have first-aid instructions stored on your phone or mobile device, then you’d be better equipped to help someone during a time of need.

Nowadays, not too many people travel without their phones, and since phones are able to hold so much data – particularly on SD cards – installing first-aid apps like the ones designed by American Red Cross is a no-brainer. So, it only makes sense to install these apps for life-saving tips and first-aid instructions, right? In an emergency situation like landslides, for example, apps like the one created by the American Red Cross can be used as a quick response tool. With that in mind, the app will guide you through a step-by-step process of how to do things like aids wounds, and help you diagnose symptoms residents might face. The best part: The app is also pre-loaded with all the information needed for you to review without relying on internet access for assistance, which can come in handy if you’re out in the wilderness. The app also doesn’t contain ads which could prevent you from seeing instructions in a time of need. What more could you want?

The Power of Social Media:

It’s no secret that we live in a world filled with unpredictable moments, especially in North America. From landslides in Canada to flooding in parts of the U.S., the devastation is never far away as natural disasters hit every part of the world. When Mother Nature isn’t behind the wheel, it’s terrorist attacks like mass shootings, bombings, and global attacks that rip apart cities and neighborhoods. In the midst of all this chaos comes social media, an unsung hero.

What role does social media play?

Well, social media apps like Facebook, for example, can be used to let others know that you’re safe if you live in an area that has been affected by a natural disaster. The app will also alert friends through various notifications. If you’re concerned about Wi-Fi, don’t be; many shelters stations throughout North America offer Wi-Fi so staying in touch with loved ones through social media is possible.

The Facebook safety check feature is also another way individuals can stay in contact with loved ones after an emergency. When this feature is activated by Facebook, safety check sends an alert to users asking if they are safe. If the user replies, then the answer is immediately posted to their timeline. If the user doesn’t respond, however, then Facebook continues to send an alert to the users until they do respond.

The point is, responding to everyone’s phone calls and messages can be a really daunting task, especially if you’re trying to stay up to date on things. With the help of social media apps like Facebook, for instance, users can post statues to let everyone know they’re safe without being overwhelmed with calls and messages. This is what makes social media such an important tool during an emergency.

Using Community Apps:

Although apps for homeless people might sound weird, they’re important. That’s because, as one of the most vulnerable population on the streets, a community’s homeless population simply cannot be overlooked, no matter what. Thankfully, there are apps that can help.

The OutCalling app, for example, is an app that lists all nearby services that homeless people can benefit from. Services like addiction recovery, shelters, food, and more are all listed just by entering your zip-code; and since the app is associated with a Christianity group, it also lists local ministry’s services as well. Unfortunately, since the app is underused in North America – and reviews in the app store confirm it – overloaded city services along with local police departments are forced to deal with this problem alone. If residents download the app, however, they’ll be able to help this vulnerable population survive by knowing ahead of time.

So, be sure to download an app now; you never know when you’ll come across someone who might need it, which can help you save someone’s life in the end.
Thanks for the read! Did I miss anything important? What are some other apps residents can use to stay safe during an emergency? Feel free to leave a comment below.

H. Davis enjoys exploring the outdoors and watching sports. If you can’t find him online, you might be able to catch him cheering on the Dodgers. Follow him on Twitter @Davis241. Thanks!

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