NLM suggests digital 'go-bag' with apps for emergencies

Tools

Digital "go-bags" consisting of mobile applications are just as important as traditional go-bags packed in advance of emergencies and disasters, said National Library of Medicine officials during a webinar April 25.

The typical, nondigital go-bag includes navigation, safety and communication tools, as well as medical supplies and toiletries. But, as the NLM's webinar presenters pointed out, access to information is noticeably absent from that list.

A digital go-bag could provide maps, alerts, health information, access to social media and more. It would take up little space, all encompassed on a mobile device.

Some mobile apps--especially web apps but also those downloaded from an app store--require Internet connectivity, while others can store information on devices. It's important to know whether information in a digital go-bag will depend on Internet access or not, the presenters said.

Mobile apps offer many capabilities that can be useful during emergencies. Users can find out about shelter locations or how to administer first aid. Other apps help locate missing people or reunite families.

Emergency responders can use apps to learn how to deal with hazardous materials or which areas to evacuate if air is contaminated.

The webinar presenters also reminded users to keep their apps updated and their app-store passwords remembered.

For more:
- download the slides from the presentation, "Packing your 'Digital Go-Bag': Essential Disaster Health Information on your Mobile Device" (.pdf)

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