Our phones are our constant companions – we use them to check emails, monitor bank balances, pay bills, take pictures and as technology continues to advance — even save lives. Emergency apps for your smartphone are the best way to monitor your own safety and the safety of others important to you.

There are many emergency apps on the market; some targeted at disaster preparedness, others at disaster relief and many at general everyday emergency care and first aid. Though they might not be accessed daily, you should have the ability to utilize them at any given moment.

Despite the unlimited amount of apps available for download and our phones’ limited storage capabilities, safety should always make the cut. We’ve compiled a list of emergency apps worthy of permanent spots on your smartphone’s home screen.

Emergency Preparedness Apps

There are a number of apps devoted to emergency response, but first and foremost should be emergency preparedness. The following apps offer interactive materials such as quizzes, instructions and checklists to help learn how to prepare for emergencies before they occur.

FEMA also offers a readiness app, complete with information on various disasters, checklists for emergency kits, materials to help plan meeting locations, and tips on how to stay safe and recover. Available for Apple and Android devices.

Everyday Emergency Apps

ICE Standard with Smart911â„¢: This app functions as backup/portable storage for your medical information to be used in case of emergency. Medical history, emergency contacts, insurance details and blood type make up the majority of user inputs. It’s available for Apple and Android devices.

Red Panic Button: Tap one button and a panic alert with your GPS location is sent via SMS, email and social media to your list of emergency contacts. This application is great for older family members who may find themselves in need of immediate attention. Note that this app does require Internet connection to provide a location and send an email. It’s available for Apple and Android devices.

Life360: Similar to Red Panic Button, Life360 is a location and alert-based service. The ability to separate your contacts into designated groups is what makes this app stand out from others. A map that shows each group member’s location is visible within each tab, making it perfect for keeping an eye on a child who recently moved out or ensuring your grandkid made it to practice on time. You also have the ability to send group or one-on-one text messages announcing your arrival at or departure from a location. This app is available for Apple and Android devices.

First Aid by American Red Cross: Get professional advice for a range of emergencies, covering everything from lesser incidents to natural disasters. Whether you’re on the green or babysitting the grandkids, accidents are always a possibility. All of the content is preloaded, meaning that you can access videos, quizzes and step-by-step advice without an Internet or cellular connection. This app is available for Apple and Android devices.

Travel Emergency Apps

Cultural barriers can easily get in the way of dealing with emergencies. Translation apps, Wi-Fi-based communication apps and transportation/navigation apps are integral in helping to overcome these obstacles. In addition to these basic tools, below are some apps targeted directly at managing emergencies that may occur during family or personal travel.

Smart Traveler: Monitor travel alerts and warnings, obtain local maps, locate U.S. embassies and receive assistance in emergencies, such as natural disasters and unrest in foreign countries. As an added bonus, you can also track your trip with customized itineraries. This app is available for Apple and Android devices.

!Emergency!: This app is a must for international travelers , as it provides the emergency contact information for police departments, fire departments and medical services around the world. This app is available for Apple devices.

RepairPal: Auto Repair Expert: For auto emergencies, including breakdowns, crashes and smaller-scale issues, RepairPal should be your go-to. This app provides you with accurate pricing, local mechanics, paid roadside assistance and the ability to digitally track and save your repair history. This app is available for Apple and Android devices.

Because of technology’s increasing existence and ability to provide ample assistance in (and maybe even save) lives, it is important to stay up-to-date with this field. By understanding how to effectively use technology surrounding us, such as the apps listed above, you can become a respected source of information and take on the responsibility of sharing this knowledge with others. As technology’s relationship with society rapidly changes, keeping up with these trends is the perfect way to keep your mind youthful, active and engaged.

Should a disaster occur, we advise you to alert emergency personnel ASAP and use these apps as a secondary source of information.

Do you use any apps not listed above? How do you integrate new technology into your emergency preparedness and response?