By: Rick Limpert
With all the frigid weather across the country, it seems unlikely any of us have been thinking about tornadoes.
The fact is, we’re at the beginning of tornado season, and the Red Cross has a new tornado app out today that is a “must have” on your smartphone or tablet.
The American Red Cross has now launched its official Tornado App. What this does, is put lifesaving information right in the hands of people who live in, visit or have friends and loved ones in tornado-prone areas.
The Red Cross launched a successful hurricane app last year, so it’s only natural that they now focus on tornadoes.
“Tornadoes often happen in the overnight hours when people are sleeping,” said Nancy Brockway, Chief Emergency Services Officer, American Red Cross of Georgia. “The audible alerts in this app can save lives – even if users can’t monitor the weather because they are away from radio, TV or in places where weather band radios may not work.”
This is a free app that is available in English or Spanish. By downloading, it will give users of iPhone, iPad and Android smart phone and tablets instant access to local and real-time information about the severe weather in their area.
The app includes a high-pitched siren and “tornado warning!” alert that alerts people when a NOAA tornado warning has been issued in their area. This is a crucial time and you should know where to take cover. This all happens, even if the app is closed. The app works by giving information on what to do before, during and after a tornado warning is issued. An “all clear!” alert will let users know when a tornado warning has expired or has been cancelled in their area.
The reach of this app is going to be amazing.
“The Red Cross has made great strides in putting vital information in the hands of people who need it during emergencies. In fact, our apps are now on more than two million mobile devices across the country,” added Brockway.
According to the Red Cross the features of the app include:
Location-based NOAA tornado, severe thunderstorm and flood watch and warning alerts;
Enhanced weather maps;
One-touch “I’m safe” messaging that allows users to broadcast reassurance to family and friends that they are out of harm’s way;
Simple steps and checklists people can use to create an emergency plan and share it with household members;
Preloaded content that gives users instant access to critical action steps, even without mobile connectivity;
Toolkit with flashlight, strobe light and audible alarm;
Locations of open Red Cross shelters; and
Badges users can earn through interactive quizzes and share on social networks.
The Red Cross, the nation’s leader in emergency preparedness. Their apps have been used to help save lives during hurricanes, earthquakes and wildfires.
The new Tornado App, along with the others, can be found in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for Android by searching for American Red Cross or by going to redcross.org/mobileapps. Users must remember, apps can help prepare people for disasters, but they are not a substitute for training and being prepared ahead of time. The Red Cross also recommends that Americans get Red Cross First Aid and CPR/AED training. Register and take a class at a location near where you live or work.
Tornadoes are no joke, just as the thousands of people that have been affected by their destruction over the past few years. Get this app.