News Programs are often filled with stories of disasters from around the country. Minor events can become emergencies, especially for persons with chronic diseases. Are you prepared? In an emergency, every second counts – that’s why it’s crucial to have a game plan. September is National Preparedness Month. The Centers for Disease Control – CDC (www.cdc.gov), the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (www.ready.gov), and the American Red Cross are a few of the many organizations that encourages all Americans to develop a safety game plan. Over the next few months, our blog site will feature a series of articles that will help increase awareness of the many resources available to help you plan for an emergency.
According to the American Red Cross, mobile phone apps and social media are tied as the 4th most popular sources for emergency information during a disaster, with one in five Americans having used an app for emergencies. Listed below is a summary of apps offered by the Red Cross:
The American Red Cross First Aid app puts expert advice for everyday emergencies in your hand. Available for iPhone and Android devices, the official American Red Cross First Aid app gives you instant access to the information you need to know to handle the most common first aid emergencies. With videos, interactive quizzes and simple step-by-step instructions guide you through everyday first aid scenarios. It is fully integrated with 911 so you can call EMS from the app at any time
The Tornado Warning app puts everything you need to know to prepare for a tornado – and all that comes with it and after it – in the palm of your hand. With interactive quizzes and simple step-by-step advice, it’s easy to prepare your family and home for this type of emergency.
Be ready for severe weather with the Hurricane Tracker app. Monitor conditions in your area or throughout the storm path track, prepare your family and home, find help and let others know you are safe even if the power is out – a must have for anyone who lives in an area where a hurricane may strike or has loved ones who do. Location-based NOAA weather alerts for the United States and its territories users can share on social networks. One touch “I’m safe” messaging that allows users to broadcast reassurance to family and friends via social media outlets that they are out of harm’s way
The Shelter Finder app displays open Red Cross shelters and their current population across the United States, on an easy to use map interface; can even zoom in to the local area. View shelter details: the agency managing the shelter, capacity of the shelter and current population, the associated disaster event and the specific shelter address and location. The American Red Cross National Shelter System (NSS) contains information about 60,000 potential disaster facilities and is used to track and report on shelter information during disasters. Shelter information is updated from the NSS every 30 minutes. Current populations are typically updated every noon and midnight when shelters are open and providing assistance.
Additional apps available are the Wildfire and Earthquake Apps. Download the Red Cross Apps at www.redcross.org/mobileapps. A key item to remember is that a back-up plan is very important, because loss of cell phone towers & damaged phone lines can impair the use of your phone.