As we head into the fall and winter storm season along with the ongoing earthquake hazard threat and pandemic, what emergency apps should you have on your phone? Here is a list of key emergency preparedness and response apps for your phone.

American Red Cross

Free for Android and iOS, the American Red Cross app provides a broad amount of information to help you and your family stay prepared and informed. Information within the app includes first aid together with videos and the option to call 911 directly if needed, coronavirus safety tips and information, weather warning information, warming and cooling shelter information, and much more.

ShakeAlert

Many smartphones already have this app on board, but some may not have it activated to receive alerts of an impending earthquake. Those precious seconds could save lives. For more information about the app, how to ensure it is active on your phone, and how the app works, visit https://www.shakealert.org/

MyShake

Free for Android and iOS, this app is great if you wish to learn more about the science of earthquakes and provides current information about quakes around the world. Under the safety tab, images show people doing various activities to prepare, survive, and recover from a quake.

FEMA

Free for Android and iOS, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) not only helps Americans during natural disasters but also this app helps you prepare before, during, and after a hazardous event. Information for over 20 emergency-related events including hazards like weather and earthquakes are available. In the wake of a flood, instructions to help you start your flood insurance claim are also accessible.

Puget Sound Energy and Snohomish County PUD

Free for Android and iOS, the myPSE app provides a wealth of information including the latest on power outage information, paying your bill, or making adjustments to your service. Puget Sound Energy serves Skagit and Island counties. Snohomish County PUD does not have an app yet and may develop one in the near future. In the meantime, you can use their Snohomish County PUD website on your phone by using a web browser.

Harbor

Free for iOS, this app is great as an educational tool, particularly for kids. This app works to gamify the emergency preparedness process by turning questions about hazards into trivia questions about what to do. Users are rewarded with the possibility of earning a badge, peppy quotes, and even puns for fun. Harbor does require making an account that can be helpful in case hazard assistance is immediately needed. It also links to official data and advice like the Red Cross app.

Zello

Free from Android and iOS, this app is a walkie-talkie on your phone. You can send short audio messages to one another. Two options are available, one for work and the other for personal use in an emergency. Community groups like neighborhoods and emergency responders can connect cheaply and quickly. The downside of the app is it is reliant on the Internet. If the Internet is down, so is this app. Yet, this app can be helpful in many forms of emergencies.

There are many other helpful hazard apps and not all are one-size-fits-all. It is best to find the emergency preparedness apps that best meet your needs by exploring what is available from your app store. Taking that first step will help you and your family be better prepared for whatever may unfold.

North Sound Meteorologist Ted Buehner worked more than 40 years for the National Weather Service (NWS) from 1977 to 2018. He is now an Everett Post Media team member. Together with Everett Post Weather Minute Podcasts, he provides morning and afternoon commute traffic and weather updates on both KRKO and KXA Radio, and sports reporting on KRKO.