Disaster ready

By Meg Rivera

THE hot topic on everybody’s lips is the earthquake that occurred a week ago across Bohol and Cebu. We can’t go an hour without seeing reports of so and so building succumbing to gravity or hearing about the next big one. What news stations seem to leave out, however, is how we should be preparing for a disaster.

The mañana habit is not going to get us very far in terms of being prepared, let’s be honest here. Being prepared for anything is invaluable, and it saves lives. In the rush of everyday, this is so easy to overlook. This week’s reviews will focus on what news stations have just glossed over: how to prepare for a disaster and apps to track the conditions around the area where disaster strikes.

QuakeFeedApp Name: QuakeFeed

Developer: Artisan Global, LLC

Easy to use: It’s fairly easy to use, but only after you’ve spent about ten minutes looking through the app.

Available on: Google Play, iTunes

Overall comment: This rocked my socks. This app gives an extremely detailed report of the most recent seismic activity around the world, down to the most minuscule fault line. You can customize it so that it displays recent earthquakes above a certain grade on the Richter scale, as well as read up on any events on an RSS newsfeed. I had a look at the Cebu/Bohol region, and needless to say, it was lit like a Christmas tree. The app is also beautifully presented, but that’s only a little bit of icing on what is already a marvelous and detailed cake. Five clicks out of five.

Disaster PreparednessApp Name: Preparedness

Developer: 1to1class.com

Easy to use: Think of this app as a really souped-up popup book. This was originally published as a reference book in the US, but was given extra features in this iPad version.

Available on: Google Play, iTunes

Overall comment: This app, commissioned by Fema (Federal Emergency Management Agency) in the US, provides a comprehensive guide to everything disaster management. From outlining possible threats and disasters to helping plan an escape plan, this app has thought of everything. It also allows you to customize any lists (such as what to pack in an emergency bag), and provides a doodle pad to sketch escape routes. I can imagine that the book was already quite good, but giving it extra features through this app has made it invaluable. Four clicks out of five.

The Weather ChannelApp Name: The Weather Channel

Developer: The Weather Channel Interactive

Easy to use: Easy enough, it’s a tap and point version of what you watch on TV.

Available on: Google Play, iTunes

Overall comment: I included the Weather Channel because it would be helpful to observe the weather conditions in case an earthquake strikes. It’s easy enough to overlook the weather when we’re focused on getting operations back to 100 per cent. This app lets you look at 10 and five-day forecasts, so just in case another quake strikes, you’re also aware of what kind of temporary shelter you may need. Three clicks out of five.

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