This post is the first in a series of prepping and survival articles on useful smart phone apps for Preppers. Whether you are bugging out or hunkering down, information will be one of your top resources in dealing with a wide range of emergency situations. A smart phone with a set of well-chosen apps can fill that need. Many apps are free, and those that are not are usually inexpensive.
If you don’t already have a smart phone, I recommend any good android phone. The OS is easy to use, and you can choose from a variety of brands and models. It is also more of an open platform, with more options for customization. The iPhone is well-made and offers a vast array of apps, but it is more expensive. There is only one brand and only a few models of the Apple iPhone. I find the iPhone’s OS to be a little quirky, and it has limited customization options. The next two most common phone platforms are Windows Phone and Blackberry; but the number of apps available is limited.
These two platforms, Android and the iPhone, each have a very large number of apps available for free and for purchase. The Android apps are mostly found at Google Play, while the iPhone apps are available at the iTunes store. Apps for android that are not found at Google Play can still be installed. Apps for iPhone not found in the Apple iTunes store can’t be installed, unless you ‘jailbreak’ your iPhone — not recommended and beyond my level of expertise.
Top Prepping App?
Which app would I recommend as head and shoulders above all others for preppers? The Amazon Kindle reader, available free from Amazon here.
The Kindle Reader app is available for smart phones, tablets, and computers. For prepping purposes, though, don’t use the Cloud Reader, which stores all your Kindle ebooks in the cloud (on Amazon servers). If internet access goes down during an emergency, you’ll lose access to all your cloud-stored Kindle books. Keep your Kindle prepping books downloaded on both your smart phone and either a Kindle reader, or a laptop with long battery life. In fact, of those three options, the basic Kindle reader (not the Kindle Fire) has the longest battery life. If the power is out for days, your laptop and phone will run out of power before the basic (black and white) Kindle does. However, the Kindle fire, with its full color screen and apps capability, uses battery power much too quickly. (I have both the basic Kindle and the Kindle Fire.)
Once you have a Kindle device or the free Kindle Reader app, you can download a vast array of informational books for prepping and survival purposes. Buying and storing food, water, and supplies is an essential part of prepping. But information is also crucial. You can fit a small library of instructional and reference books on your smart phone. And since many persons carry their smart phone with them most of the time, you will have that prepping and survival library at hand wherever you are. Awesome resource.
First Aid Apps
For this post, I downloaded and reviewed two of the most popular first aid apps: First Aid by Health Team and First Aid by the Red Cross. Both are free. The Heath Team app is only available for Android (as far as I could determine). The Red Cross app is available for iPhone as well as Android.
First Aid by Health Team is a well-organized easy-to-use reference app. The index is a single page list of health emergency types. Tapping one takes you to the info section for that particular medical problem. The app provides a quick overview of how to deal with each medical issue.
There are a few disadvantages to the Health Team app, though. When you first enter the app, there is a splash screen; you have to wait a few seconds for that screen to clear. Then you are presented with a request to review the app. You have to tap a button to clear that screen. In an emergency, this would cost you precious seconds. The app is free, but supported by ads at the bottom of each screen. It is unseemly to have to look at advertisements while you are seeking first aid information in an emergency.
But the final nail in the coffin for this app is that it lacks informational depth. There are only a handful of medical emergency categories and the information on dealing with those situations is very basic. Not recommended. I uninstalled the app.
First Aid by the Red Cross is a few steps up from the aforementioned offering. It is available free for Android phones and the iPhone. Tap into the app and you are immediately presented with a prompt to tap the ‘Emergency’ icon to access a well-organized table of contents:
Strains and sprains
Tap any category, and you get a single screen overview of what to do, along with a button to press to call 911 from your phone within the app. Very useful. At the top of that same single screen overview (for most categories) is a brief video SHOWING you what to do. Then at the bottom of that page, you will find a ‘learn more’ button.
The ‘learn more’ screen for any category of medical problems has additional information, a link to related information within the app, and a Q & A section. Tap any question and the answer appears beneath it. You can also access the ‘learn more’ section of the app from the top menu via the ‘learn’ icon.
There is even a ‘prepare’ icon that seems to be designed with preppers in mind. The Prepare menu includes:
Winter weather (severe)
Each ‘Prepare’ info page has a brief overview, a ‘Before’ checklist, and a ‘During’ list. Some also have an ‘After’ list of things to do. All of this information is brief and to the point.
When you try to leave the app, it prompts you with a pop-up asking you to confirm that you want to do so. This prevents inadvertently leaving the app in an emergency. This slight annoyance is worth the advantage of staying in the app when it is being used during a first aid situation.
The only negative for the Red Cross first aid app is that it lacks the depth found in any Red Cross first aid book or course. So buy a first aid book and take a first aid course. Then you will be well-prepared for first aid emergencies.