The Canadian Red Cross, a humanitarian charitable organization, has launched a safety app. This news comes in time of preparations for Emergency Preparedness Week. Emergency Preparedness Week occurs from May 1st to May 7th every year. It is a national event that is supported by municipalities, provinces and Red Cross among other organizations. It is organized to raise awareness about the importance of safety and emergency response.

The app helps people in making preparations in case of an emergency by informing them on how much food, water and medical supplies each household will require. The app, aptly named the Red Cross Be Ready, gives users instant access to better prepare themselves for different emergency situations and possible actions that need to be performed for survival when disaster strikes. It is available for both Android and iOS devices free of cost.

The app includes live weather updates and other interactive tools that educate Canadian citizens on how to prepare their homes and families before, during and after disasters and emergency situations. The app is a good instructional tool; it will be especially useful when users are mentally prepared beforehand. The app offers geo-targeted notifications for a variety of hazards. It provides practical and useful information for a range of disasters and emergencies. One of the most crucial features of Be Ready is that users can access information without having an internet connection, which can prove quite useful when there is a major disaster since communication links could be down. It also has interactive quizzes that are a fun way to learn about emergency techniques such as first aid etc.

The Canadian Red Cross works closely with local and national emergency management agencies. It relies on an organization of more than 6,000 trained disaster response volunteers to respond in emergency situations. It operates mostly on people’s donations and from funding by the government.

Jean Phillipe Tizi, Vice President of Emergency Management at the Canadian Red Cross, said, “The Canadian Red Cross recommends keeping enough supplies on hand to be self-sufficient for up to 72 hours in the event of a disaster or up to two weeks in a health emergency. We can’t control when or where a disaster will happen, but being prepared can help mitigate the impact disasters have on people, families and communities.”

One of the key features of the app is that by pressing a button users can inform their friends and family that they are safe by sending them a message and giving them your GPS location. It is similar to Facebook’s “mark me safe” feature.

This is quite a significant feature as it allows friends and family to track people’s safety status in emergency situations.

Naomi Armstrong of the Canadian Red Cross said that the app is quite adept at informing users of an emergency beforehand. She said, “We always talk about knowing the risks, making a plan and being prepared with a kit. This is an app that will be super handy on your phone, available in French and English, and free. That is really important so that we can really help support people to have more information and be more prepared.”

Other Emergency apps

At a time when frequency of earthquakes has increased significantly and evils of terrorism prevail in everywhere, emergency apps have become a necessity. Many app developers have taken the responsibility of safeguarding their fellow humans by creating quite useful emergency apps, such as:

bSafe

bSafe is a personal safety app that is available for free on iOS and Android devices. It offers a wide variety of personal and safety features. It has an alarm that comes in handy in emergency situations. It also starts recording video and sends it to friends and family along with users’ GPS location when there is an emergency. The alarm can be activated manually or individuals can use Follow Me Timer mode that sends a SOS message to an individual’s emergency contacts if the timer isn’t deactivated within a given time limit. One major drawback of this app is that the emergency contacts should also be registered on this app.

Disaster Alert

This app is developed by Pacific Disaster Center’s World Disaster Alerts. It uses DisasterAWARE’s (All-hazard Warnings, Analysis, and Risk Evaluation) algorithms to easily access data in real-time on active hazards to warn users ahead of time. It is a free app that is available on iOS and Android devices.

ICE: In Case of Emergency

The ICE app stores emergency information such as emergency contacts, allergies, doctor information and medical conditions. The app can be used even if screen is locked, and the screen shows an optional “if found” message. So the app is quite useful in emergency situations if the phone gets lost.

SirenGPS

The unique feature of SirenGPS is that it allows real time communication even when cell service is down. It is a collaboration between emergency respondents and emergency services as it allows the emergency respondents such as fire services, emergency medical teams and police to communicate with each other through the app. SirenGPS tracks the exact location of the caller, hence greatly reducing response times. It is available for free on iOS and Android.

These apps are just a backup and all other necessary steps should be carefully taken in case of a disaster.