These days, most of us have smartphones, and this gives us the ability to download apps for just about any purpose. But have you considered what apps might be useful when SHTF? In a truly large-scale disaster, cell phone service might not be available, but many apps can store information and be accessed even without cellular data.
Since most of us have our phones with us at all times, having a library of survival apps ready to go on your phone is one more weapon you need for your prepping arsenal.
Here are the 17 apps every survivalist needs to have downloaded and ready to go.
The Kindle app is a great way to build your library of survival books without taking up a lot of physical space. Plus, ebooks are often much cheaper than hard copy books, and you can store thousands of them on your phone or tablet. The Kindle app allows you to save pdf files in the app so that you can store all of your emergency preparedness information and survival guides in one place. You can also choose to store documents and ebooks directly on your device—instead of in the cloud—so that they can be accessed whether or not you have cell service or internet access. The app is available for free for iOS and Android devices.
First Aid by American Red Cross
During an emergency, knowing how to perform first aid accurately can save lives. The First Aid app by the American Red Cross has step-by-step instructions to guide you through different first aid situations, and the content is preloaded, so you don’t need cell service or a wireless connection to use it. If you do have cell service and the situation turns out to require more than simple first aid, the app is also fully integrated with emergency services so that you can call for help at any time, directly from the app. The app is available for free for iOS and Android devices.
Pet First Aid by American Red Cross
Your human family members aren’t the only ones who might require medical attention in an emergency situation. But administering first aid to a dog or cat is very different than helping an injured person. So, the American Red Cross has created a Pet First Aid app to help with that. The app includes content on both dogs and cats and offers information about how to respond to more than 25 of the most common emergencies involving our four-legged friends.
The PepperPlate app is perfect for storing all of those recipes you’ve been accumulating for your dutch oven or solar cooker. The app also allows you to create and edit your own recipes and organize everything in whatever categories you choose. PepperPlate is another app that allows you to store your information directly on your device, so you can access it even if you don’t have cell service or internet. The app is available for iOS, Android, Windows, Nook and Amazon devices for free.
Google Drive offers users 15 GB of free storage space, which makes it a great option for backing up your important documents, such as identity papers, passports, insurance policies, financial information and medical information. It will give you the benefit of being able to prove your identity and access your resources in the event of an emergency away from home, or if your hard copies are lost or destroyed in a disaster. Google Drive gives you the option to store files in the cloud, or locally on your device. The Google Drive app is free for iOS and Android devices.
Storing and accessing all of your personal identification information online does come with some risk. If you are accessing the information from the cloud, you should consider using a secure connection, like a virtual private network, to ensure your information is protected from other parties who might attempt to steal your personal data.
5-0 Radio Police Scanner
In an emergency, many people’s first reaction is to call for help from police, firefighters or other first responders. So, knowing what the first responders know about a situation is the best way to understand what’s happening in a large-scale emergency. An app such as 5-0 Radio Police Scanner gives you access to live police and emergency radio feeds all over the world. You can listen in to radio broadcasts based on your location and listen to feeds no matter where you are. The app is available for free for iOS and Android devices. There is also a paid version called 5-0 Radio PRO that includes 50,000 additional feeds not available on the free version. The paid version is $3.99.
As a survivalist and a prepper, you probably know storing supplies for emergencies isn’t cheap. While the SnipSnap app won’t be of any use after SHTF, it will come in handy while you’re prepping. This app allows you to store all of those coupons you’ve clipped in your smartphone and redeem them directly from your screen. Even more amazingly, the app even reminds you to use the coupons when you’re in the store, or if they’re about to expire. You can also search the app’s massive database to find other coupons and savings at checkout for major retailers. While prepping is never going to be considered a cheap endeavor, the SnipSnap app will help make it more affordable.
MAPS.ME is possibly the most detailed offline map app in the world. It offers directions, points of interest and navigation for everywhere, from the world’s largest cities to tiny hiking trails. Once you download the app, the information is available completely offline, so you never need an internet connection to access map information, which can be critical in an emergency. You can use it to navigate both on the road and through the backcountry. The app is available for Android, iOS, Amazon and Blackberry devices for free.
Bug Out Bag Survival Guide
The Bug Out Bag Survival Guide app is great for those new to prepping who aren’t sure what to pack in their go bags. It’s got a complete checklist with everything you need to have packed and ready to go for an emergency. It does have useful features for more experienced preppers, too. In addition to keeping track of exactly what’s in your go bag, it can also remind you when your items in the bag have expired and need to be replaced. All of the checklists are completely editable, so you can customize it to work for your prep style. The app is free for iOS and Android devices.
Home Remedies+: Natural Cures
In a true SHTF situation, you might not have access to doctors and medication, so it’s possible you’d have to rely on alternative methods of treating illnesses. The Home Remedies+: Natural Cures app gives you natural ways to replace many over-the-counter medications to treat hundreds of common ailments. The remedies in the app are primarily made from herbs, spices, fruits and vegetables, which you are more likely to be able to scavenge in a large-scale disaster. The app is available for free on iOS, Amazon and Android devices.
Wild Plant Survival Guide
In an emergency situation, safe shelter, food and water are top priorities. If you’re in a rural setting, you could very likely be surrounded by edible plants, but knowing which plants are edible and which plants are poisonous is key. The Wild Plant Survival Guide app provides details about more than 100 plants to help you identify what is edible. The app includes color photos and even provides information on the medicinal properties of different plants that can be used for first aid. The app is available on iOS and Android devices for $1.99.
In a weather-related emergency, it may not always be obvious when the danger has passed. The Weatherbug app offers real-time, up-to-the-minute weather information, including Doppler radar, forecast information, interactive maps and traffic conditions. The app will alert you to any unusual weather-related events in the area. The app is available to download for free on Android and iOS devices.
Storm Shield Severe Weather
Depending on the area where you live, you may have days to prepare for severe weather, such as a hurricane, or only seconds, as in the case of tornadoes. Either way, the Storm Shield Severe Weather app provides severe weather updates for your location for tornado, hurricane, flood, thunderstorm, winter storms and other life-threatening weather events. You can receive alerts via voice or push notification. Best of all, the app alerts you to danger based on your exact location and the weather pattern, not based only on your county, as is the case with most alert systems. The app is available for iOS and Android devices for $2.99.
The Army Survival app is based on the United States Army’s field survival manual and includes information on almost any topic related to survival, including the psychology of survival, basic survival medicine, building shelters, procuring and filtering water, signaling techniques, and more. It includes information on surviving a variety of climates as well, such as desert, tropical, cold weather and coastal. The Army Survival app is one that every survivalist should have for reference, and you should spend time studying it before you actually need it. The app is available for Android and iOS devices for $1.99.
The Prepper app helps you manage and track your food stores. You can scan the barcode of your food as you buy it and keep a log of exactly what foods you have, where they’re stored and how much you have of everything. You can track dry stores, canned goods, and refrigerated and frozen foods. The app will even remind you about stores that need to be used before they expire. It will take all the guesswork out of long-term food storage and eliminate any problems you have with food waste. The app is available for free on iOS devices.
Knots can be used for everything from climbing and hunting to fishing and boating. In a survival situation, knowing how to tie knots can truly be a lifesaver. The Knots 3D app shows you how to tie more than 120 knots in three-dimensional detail. You can play a video of the knot being tied and vary the speed to help you learn any part you’re struggling with. It’s the best way to learn to tie any knot you might need for any situation. The app is available for Android, Amazon and iOS devices for $1.99.
The Disaster Alert app provides real-time monitoring and alerts about potential hazards around the globe. The app is part of the Pacific Disaster Center, which monitors hazards around the globe that have the potential to cause harm to people or property. Monitored events include natural disasters such as hurricanes, floods and volcanoes; weather-related hazards such as droughts and wildfires; human-made problems such as nuclear hazards; and biomedical hazards such as disease outbreaks. You can receive push notifications for specific types of hazards or those that occur within a certain distance. The app is available for free on iOS and Android devices.
Other apps you probably already have on your phone that might come in handy in an emergency include the compass app and a flashlight app. Though some disasters may make technology useless, in other cases, using technology to your advantage might save you valuable time. Being prepared for any and every possible scenario is what prepping is all about. Installing and using these 17 apps is one more way you can be ready to face whatever disaster is eventually headed our way.
Did we miss any must-have emergency or survival prepping apps? What else do you think should be on the list?
About the Author: Sandra is a freelance writer and emergency preparedness expert. She’s passionate about teaching others how to be ready for anything, from a severe weather warning to a major natural disaster. She regularly contributes to The Right Side of Truth and several other sites.