FEMA’s New Android App Arrives Just In Time For Hurricane Irene

FEMA’s had a mobile version of their website available for a while now, but all that information does you no good if you can’t get an internet connection. Given the fragility of mobile networks during disasters, going without web access is a very real possibility.

Enter FEMA’s new, self-titled Android app, which puts a wealth of emergency preparedness information right in the palm of your hand just in case.

The app contains information and advice on what to do for disasters ranging from earthquakes to wildfires, and everything in-between. Also present is the emergency kit checklist, which outlines all the items and provisions one may need to get through some trying times. Very useful, especially because some things they recommend (like a “whistle to signal for help”) aren’t exactly the first things to come up when brainstorming the contents of a survival kit. For those worst case scenarios when the best bet is to head for a nearby shelter, the app lists locations where it should be safe to hunker down.

It also provides a quick way for disaster survivors to apply for federal assistance, although it’s my sincerest hope that none of you readers will ever have to. While it’s essentially a pocketable version of the FEMA site, it’s a valuable resource in it’s own right, especially with Hurricane Irene poised to barrel up the East Coast in coming days.

Creating an app is a smart move for FEMA, especially considering the state of most mobile networks during an emergency situation. Cellular networks are quickly jammed up by handsets try to make calls, as some of you may have noticed during this past week’s earthquake. FEMA recommends sticking to text messages and emails when trying to contact others, and that the app works fine sans data connection only helps. One less thing for the network has to cope with will hopefully mean everyone can get in touch with everyone else without too much headache.

For more information on Hurricane Irene, head over to the New York Times or check out our post with additional Irene resources.