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Keep your family safe during natural disasters

Keep your family safe during natural disasters
© Anan Sudsaithong | Dreamstime.com

With the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey still impacting the U.S., and another massive hurricane hitting the South East Coast, safety is on everyone's mind.

Whether you have family members who live in the affected areas or are at risk of encountering a dangerous situation yourself, communication is essential. That's why you need to download these apps right now. They'll help you get the updates you need from local government officials, keep track of your family members' location and communicate back and forth.

Scanner Radio

If you like to keep up to date with what's going on around you, including public safety alerts and traffic reports, you could buy a dedicated police scanner. However, those can be expensive. Current police scanners on the market could set you back hundreds of dollars.

The better option might be the Scanner Radio app. The free app for both Apple and Android gadgets gives you instant access to over 5,300 police and fire department scanners, emergency responder feeds, weather radios and more.

And these scanners aren't just local. If you're so inclined, you can listen to scanners from all over the country, including amateur feeds, too.

Click here to download Scanner Radio to your Apple or Android smartphone or tablet.

Zello

Everyone is suddenly talking about a little “walkie-talkie” app called Zello. It’s a free app made popular by delivery drivers in London, to help them avoid traffic.

The app turns your smartphone into a two-way radio. Set up a group you want to talk with, maybe family, friends or co-workers. Or, join an existing group, like hikers or even rescuers. Zello then provides one way, one-person-at-a-time, communication. Just like a walkie-talkie.

The app became a key tool used by rescuers in Houston during Hurricane Harvey. But the technology is actually a 15-year throwback to the old Nextel phones. You’ll find Zello as a free download in the Apple and Google Play stores.

FamilyTime

Teens want their independence. Parents? Not so much.

Luckily, FamilyTime Dashboard is an app that can help give you peace of mind while giving your kids some freedom. It does so by monitoring your child's location, as well as their internet and smartphone activity.

With FamilyTime Dashboard, you can get panic alerts from your children, get notified when your kids are ready to get picked up and monitor their call logs and contact lists. You can also see the apps they are using and for how long as well as keep an eye on the text and SMS messages they send.

With the location tracker, you can get detailed history reports of where your child goes, and if there's a certain place you don't want them to go, you can set up geofences to exclude questionable locations and get instant alerts when those borders are breached.

If you're worried that your kid spends too much time on their phone, you can remotely lock their phone, keeping them from using it.

Click here to download the FamilyTime Dashboard - Parental Control App for free on either iOS or Android.

When your cell service doesn't work

Since all of these apps are dependent on working cell service, we wanted to leave you with some ideas for what you'll need if there is no service available. If both Wi-Fi and cellular service are down, these apps will not work effectively.

That's why you need some backup gear, like the Hand-crank Solar Emergency Radio and Charger, and the No Signal Text and GPS Locator Communication Tool from my shop.

The Hand-crank Solar Emergency Radio and Charger will help you stay informed by catching local radio alerts and news AM/FM broadcasts. It also has a built-in light that has an emergency flashing feature. Plus, there are USB ports you can use to charge up all of your other gadgets. Click here to buy in my shop for just $59.95.

The No Signal Text and GPS Locator Communication Tool is something every family should have on hand, no matter where you live. This handy gadget lets you send private messages back and forth to other users. You can also use it to download maps offline, so you can still navigate with GPS even without cellular service.

Location sharing is another benefit. If your family members are separated from one another, this tool can help you find them. And, you can always trust that your messages are safe - your data isn't stored in hackable servers, and it's all encrypted. Click here to buy in the Komando Shop for $149.95.

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