From getting help fast to life-saving tips, download these apps before any outdoor summer adventure.
Melissa Matthews 1 / 6
Summer might be everyone's favorite season, but the living isn't always so easy during the hot months. We're outdoors more, which is great for the most part, but also presents risks. Think: wildlife encounters while backcountry camping, an accident on a long bike trip, or heat exhaustion from not properly hydrating before a run. Summer is also a time when natural disasters from tornadoes to floods to fires are an unfortunate reality for many. Be prepared to tackle nearly any emergency with these life-saving apps that are seriously worth sacrificing the memory space on your phone for.
Hitting the road for an epic summer trip? Family and friends can follow along using Patronus, which alerts emergency contacts when you're en route. They also receive a notification once you've safely arrived at your destination. Or if you need help, Patronus will send out an SOS at the touch of a button. Even better, the app uses GPS to route your call to the nearest service like campus security, ski patrol, or local law enforcement. Once you request help, Patronus can alert your selected contacts with the location of where the call was placed. Available in the Android and Apple stores, free. patronusapp.com
Would you know what to do if bitten by a snake while camping (you know, aside from calling 911)? The American Red Cross app explains exactly how you should react while waiting for help during medical emergencies, from snake bites to heat stroke. Plus, the app features videos and photos to clarify instructions as well as an FAQ for each situation. Sure you could just Google it, but all content on the app is preloaded, meaning you don't have to wait for slow speeds and can even access information without reception. Available in the Android and Apple stores, free. www.redcross.org
Using Ice Standard ER is like having your emergency medical card visible at all times. The app saves a medical card with your vital stats (like name, medications, allergies, and blood type) as your home screen. The card is color coded in red, yellow, or green, letting medical professionals know if you have a serious health condition they need to be aware of. The card also lists your emergency contacts, so friends and family can be informed immediately if you have a, well, emergency. Make sure to register your phone number for Smart911 on the app, which automatically sends your information to operators when a call is made from your phone. Available in Android and Apple stores, free. www.icestandardtech.com
If you live in a city at risk for natural disasters, or have friends and family that do, make the FEMA App your new best friend. You can add weather alerts for up to five locations, plan emergency meeting locations, locate open shelters and upload photos to help first responders when a disaster hits. The app also offers information about what to do before, during and after emergency situtuations. Available in the Android, Apple and Blackberry stores, free. FEMA.gov
Based on the popular SAS Surival Guide written by former British Special Air Service soldier John "Lofty" Wiseman, this app is a must-have for any outdoorsman. Filled with basic survival tools for outdoor expeditions, you'll learn the best kind of wood to use for fires as well as ground-to-air signals in case of emergencies. If you're going on more than just a basic camping trip, upgrade to the regular SAS Survival App, which will help you weather extreme climates like polar, desert, and tropical regions, and includes primitive emergency tools you never even knew you needed, like a sun compass. Available in Android, Apple, and Windows stores. Free for the lite version, $5.99 for paid. www.sassurvivalguide.com