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App Chat: 3 apps to help you prepare for an earthquake




A screen capture of the earthquake map in the app
A screen capture of the earthquake map in the app "Quake Feed."
Jacob Margolis
A screen capture of the earthquake map in the app
A screen capture of recent earthquakes in the app "Quake Feed."
Jacob Margolis
A screen capture of the earthquake map in the app
A screen capture of the Red Cross's earthquake app.
Jacob Margolis
A screen capture of the earthquake map in the app
A screen capture of the portion of the "Army Survival" app that details edible mollusks.
Jacob Margolis


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"I really have to get my earthquake kit together."

It's a reasonable first thought after an earthquake, especially after the magnitude 6 quake that hit Northern California this weekend.

But if you're like me, you put off the planning until you hear about another earthquake and realize, again, how unprepared you are.

I'm here to tell you: No more procrastinate! It's time to get proactive, and we're doing this together. Let's use technology to prepare ourselves for the big one. (Pro tip: Here are more tips on how to use your cell phone after an earthquake.)

Below are some of the best earthquake-related apps. 

1) The Red Cross Earthquake App: To help you safely prepare and respond

This is the most comprehensive earthquake app on this list: It includes tips on what to put in your earthquake kit, as well as what to do during and after a quake. Even if you think you know, a refresher course is never a bad thing. Growing up in Los Angeles, I was taught that going under a doorway was the safest place in an earthquake. Turns out, that's not true.

2) Quake Feed: For the paranoid types, find out if you felt a tremor or a train

The first thing I do whenever I feel an earthquake — assuming that the world isn't falling apart around me and everyone's OK — is to check either USGS.gov or this app, Quake Feed. It shows the epicenter of the earthquake, as well as its rating on the Richter scale. This app really comes in handy if you want to track where earthquakes are happening around you and around the world. It allows users to set alerts for earthquakes that exceed a minimum magnitude (say, 4.0) in a specific place (say, California). 

3) Army Survival: If sh– hits the fan

How to build shelters, how to detect poisonous animals, how to find food, how to tie certain knots. It's the U.S. Army Field Manual in an app — with pictures! You could probably find the manual in PDF form somewhere online, but it's nice to have it all in one convenient place.

If you have any app recommendations, please leave them in the comments!