Hurricane Sandy will make landfall on the East Coast within the next few days. If you've got a smartphone, you can quickly, easily and cheaply turn it into part of your emergency readiness kit by downloading a few useful apps.
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To keep your eye on Sandy's path, download the Hurricane Tracker app for iOS. It delivers the latest forecasts and National Hurricane Center data on the storm's path right to your iPhone. Also included: relevant Twitter feeds from storm centers, meteorologists and others.
Download iMap Weather Radio, an iOS and Android app which either tracks your location or follows a set of locations you select. If a weather alert is issued for where you are, the app will automatically alert you. It'll also let you tune in to local weather television broadcasts.
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For drafting an emergency plan before the storm strikes, download the Insurance Institute's Your Plan app. You can use it to figure out what to pack in an emergency "go" kit, store contact numbers, figure out where to go and how to get there.
The Red Cross has a feature-packed and useful Hurricane app for iOS and Android with myriad features: It tracks weather information, it lets you broadcast an "I'm safe" message to friends and family with one button, and, if you need to evacuate your home, it maps the nearest Red Cross shelter. It also has a list of steps to take in case of an emergency. Hopefully, you won't have to use most of these features -- but if you do, you'll be glad you have it. Get it from the Red Cross.
Finally, every emergency preparedness kit should have a flashlight -- make sure the batteries are fresh and you know where to find them in your home. But for a quick backup solution, download a Flashlight app to turn your phone's camera flash into a solid beam of light. There's plenty out there for iOS and Android alike, but this free Flashlight app (ad-supported) is a favorite for iOS that doubles as an emergency beacon.
What are your favorite apps in case of an emergency? Share them in the comments.
If you have a car charger, plug in your device during your next drive to the supermarket. You can find very inexpensive versions compatible with most portable devices on retail sites like Amazon. But try to preserve the environment — don't cruise your car just to charge your phone. Kill two birds with one stone and make an errand out of it. Image courtesy of Flickr, e_walk
This story originally published on Mashable here.