Top Mobile Apps for Disaster Preparedness and Response

May 06, 2014 Atish Gonsalves

To better serve the needs of people affected by disasters, humanitarian organizations must be able to make use of new technologies to train its staff on a number of key subject areas such as humanitarian principles, operations planning and security risk management. Some of these subjects can be delivered through more “traditional” eLearning delivery methodologies such as self-study eLearning and webinar-based coaching. However, due to the very mobile nature of the operations, there is an increasing need to enable humanitarian staff with tools and information that they can access on-the-go. In addition, staff and volunteers need to be equipped with tools to access real-time information on disasters, even before they hit.

We’ve pulled together the top mobile apps that can help aid workers and volunteers better prepare and respond to disasters:

1. American Red Cross Apps -  A number of preparedness apps including First Aid, Floods, Tornados, Earthquakes, Wildfires, Hurricanes, Volunteer, Shelter Finder. The apps include interactive videos, quizzes and simple step-by-step advice. In addition, they include customizable warning indicators if you live in areas prone to natural disasters.

iTunes and Google Play -

2. Disaster Alert (Pacific Disaster Center's World Disaster Alerts) - Disaster Alert (by Pacific Disaster Center) is a free download providing mobile access to multi-hazard monitoring of and early warning for “Active Hazards” around the globe. Additional information and reports about hazards can be viewed and shared.

3. Global Emergency Overview (ACAPS) - The Global Overview is a weekly update that provides a snapshot of current humanitarian priorities and recent events. The primary objective of the Global Overview is to inform humanitarian decision makers by presenting a summary of major humanitarian crises, both recent and protracted.

4. Humanitarian Kiosk (United Nations) - The Humanitarian Kiosk (H.Kiosk) application provides a range of up-to-the-minute humanitarian related information from emergencies around the world. The application has multiple independent kiosks which reflect locations where UN-OCHA operates or there is an ongoing international humanitarian emergency.

5.       Uppsala Conflict Database - The Conflict Database at Uppsala University contains information on a large number of aspects of armed violence since 1975.

6. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) App - The FEMA App (smartphone app for mobile devices) contains disaster safety tips, an interactive emergency kit list, emergency meeting location information, and a map with open shelters and open FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs). is working closely with its partners to develop and publish mobile courses to better prepare humanitarian aid workers. If you are new to,  click here to register to access our free library of courses, as well as to be notified of our upcoming mobile courses in summer 2014. 

What other mobile apps do you recommend for disaster preparedness or response?  Please post in the comments below or tweet at



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