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5 apps to get you through a natural disaster

  • Superstorm Sandy Oct. 28 tractor.jpg

    Oct. 28, 2012: Earth-moving equipment drives south along Virginia Dare Trail in the rain and wind generated by Hurricane Sandy in Kill Devil Hills, N.C., as the storm moves up the East Coast. (AP)

  • Superstorm Sandy Oct. 28 overview.jpg

    Oct. 28, 2012: This NOAA satellite image shows Hurricane Sandy off the Mid Atlantic coastline moving toward the north with maximum sustained winds of 75 mph. Tens of thousands of people were ordered to evacuate coastal areas ahead of the onslaught. (AP Photo/Weather Underground)

  • Superstorm Sandy Oct. 29 beach.jpg

    Oct. 29, 2012: Rough surf of the Atlantic Ocean breaks over the beach and across Beach Ave., in Cape May, N.J., as high tide and Hurricane Sandy begin to arrive. (AP)

  • Superstorm Sandy Oct. 28 beach access.jpg

    Oct. 28, 2012: Cape Charles Police Officer Jim Pruitt tapes off the town fishing pier and beach to restrict access in Cape Charles, Va., ahead of Hurricane Sandy. (AP Photo/Eastern Shore News, Jay Diem)

For those caught in a hurricane like Sandy, which promises winds of up to 85 mph and a huge storm surges as it barrels up the East Coast, mother nature’s majesty can become a dangerous threat.

Could a smartphone be your savior? Several apps for iPhones and Android-based phones offer a solution -- take a few minutes to download one or more to help yourself prepare.

American Red Cross
The Red Cross hurricane app provides help at your fingertips: It includes one-touch, “I’m safe” messaging to reassure friends and family, NOAA weather alerts and shelter locations, and checklists to help you and your family prepare.

Download the app from, or call "**REDCROSS" (**73327677) from your smartphone to have a download link sent directly to your phone.

Disaster Readiness
An affordable app that could make a difference, Disaster Readiness is an emergency prep guide with more than 175,000 reference guides on how to respond to any disaster situation. Should the power go out, you won’t be able to rely upon the Internet for information. This handy app should have all the info you need, with sections on floods, fires, evacuation, and how to find or create shelter in an emergency.

Available for Google Android-based phones and Apple iPhones, Disater Readiness is a great way to make your smartphone even smarter.

iMapWeather Radio
NOAA radio alerts are a crucial source of information in a disaster. This $10 app can wake your phone up in case of an emergency, and provides local weather forecasts while you travel. And using the GPS in your phone, it can track you and monitor your safety.

Download it from Apple’s iTunes store.

Disaster Alert
Available for iPhones or Android phones Disaster Alert provides a list of all active natural hazards around the world. If knowledge is half the battle, this free app could make a real difference.

Red Panic Button
If you're caught in a dangerous situation, getting the word out might be a lifesaver. The Red Panic Button is essentially a one-touch beacon to do just that, broadcasting your GPS location and a Google Maps link out via e-mail, text message and Twitter to your emergency contact. Download it for Android or iPhone.