5 Emergency Planning & Response Apps

New technologies continue to improve safety in the workplace, and many smartphone and tablet apps can increase safety by helping employees lift more safely, use ladders properly and take proper precautions in the heat. Safety managers and supervisors also have access to apps that can assess workplace hazards and provide information about OSHA or NFPA requirements.

Additional applications exist to assist specifically with workplace emergencies. Emergencies in the workplace vary widely from employee injuries to fires and chemical spills, so apps for handling emergencies vary, too. These apps can help manage an emergency, administer first aid and deal with tornados or earthquakes. We’ll take a look at five of these apps—some helpful for workers, others for managers or emergency responders—that are designed for use during an emergency situation.

safety apps, emergency response
The SAFER Mobile Response app uses Google Maps to identify areas at risk during a hazardous materials emergency. Photo: Safer Systems

1. SAFER Mobile Response

This app by Safer Systems is made to help emergency responders and others in charge of dealing with hazardous materials incidents like chemical spills. If a hazardous emergency occurs, the app provides information from the Department of Transportation’s 2012 Emergency Response Guide (ERG2012) about hazard distances and safety measures.

The app takes the Guide’s data and turns it into an interactive map using Google Maps. Users can see the impact zone and isolation distances, as well as important places that fall within those zones. Current weather and traffic data are also available through the app in case those things are important to the response plans.

The app allows responders to easily coordinate their efforts, plan routes and protect those at risk. If an event of this nature occurs in the workplace, employers can also use the app to have access to this key safety information.

SAFER Mobile Response is free and available through iTunes and Google Play.

2. American Red Cross Natural Disaster Apps

safety apps, emergency response
The Red Cross’ Earthquake app alerts users of nearby incidents. Photo: American Red Cross

The American Red Cross provides a series of apps for dealing with natural disasters that can help employees get the information they need and connect with loved ones. The six apps in the series are: Earthquake, Hurricane, Tornado, Flood, Wildfire and Shelter.

The Earthquake app, for example, offers detailed instructions about what to do before, during and after an earthquake, even if reception isn’t available. When an earthquake does occur, the user receives information about impacted areas. The app also provides educational information about preparing for earthquakes, dealing with resulting power outages and making emergency kits.

The apps for other natural disasters function similarly and would be useful for employers and employees during these kinds of emergencies. In the case of an earthquake, an employer could use the app to see how the workplace and the surrounding area are impacted, which is critical when deciding what instructions to give employees.

These free apps are available through iTunes and Google Play, and you can also browse the apps at the Red Cross website.

3. mySCDF

This app was created by the Singapore Civil Defense Force (SCDF) to provide the public with information about dealing with fires, cardiac arrest and other common emergencies. While parts of the app are not directed toward an international audience, much of the information is useful for anyone.

mySCDF offers instructions about life-saving procedures like performing CPR, using an AED or operating a fire extinguisher. The app connects to SCDF’s YouTube videos so users can received additional training. It can also function without Wi-Fi.

The app has received a positive review from Safety Awakenings, a website that regularly reviews safety apps, and the reviewer noted that the publications section of mySCDF is especially useful. It includes an emergency handbook that is described as “one of the best, free, downloadable, safety publications we’ve ever seen.”

This app is available for free through iTunes.

4. Pocket First Aid & CPR

safety apps, emergency response
The Pocket First Aid & CPR app can help workers perform first aid while waiting for help to arrive. Photo: American Heart Association

Pocket First Aid & CPR from the American Heart Association is an app designed to help during a medical emergency. The app was recently updated and now reflects the most current American Heart Association guidelines for CPR and cardiovascular care.

The content is easily searchable, and specific instructions are available for providing first aid to different age groups. For example, you can find out how to perform CPR on an adult, child or infant. Videos and illustrations also help explain the steps to take.

If an event like this occurs in the workplace and emergency responders can’t immediately get to the scene, those in the vicinity can perform first aid while they wait for help to arrive. Sometimes these measures can mean the difference between life and death in an emergency.

Pocket First Aid & CPR was even used by an earthquake victim who was trapped beneath rubble for 65 hours. He used the first aid instructions stored in the app to treat his own injuries while waiting for rescuers.

While not free, Pocket First Aid & CPR is inexpensive ($1.99) and is available through iTunes and Google Play.

5. Workplace Emergency Event Logger

This last app was recently released by the Academy of Workplace Emergency Response in Perth, Australia, and it provides a unique way to organize and keep track of an emergency event. While the app is new and doesn’t yet have many reviews, it does offer capabilities that many other emergency response apps do not. It can help emergency responders follow required processes and provides reports and updates as needed.

Workplace Emergency Event Logger (WEEL) allows users to record actions taken to aid in communication and compliance during an incident. During an emergency, a user can select the type of emergency and then follow a pre-set action plan (these pre-sets can be changed to suit a workplace). Other features include the ability to record vital signs and take notes and photos. All of this information can be quickly sent to relevant personnel.

WEEL is available for free through iTunes and Google Play.

Have you used any other emergency planning and response apps that you’ve found useful? Let us know in the comments. For more information about safety apps, take a look at our blog post about the topic.

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