2 minute readHealth & Safety

App Review: Emergency!

Throughout the last year I’ve navigated through a number of American Red Cross apps. Until recently there were 12, and while each one provided valuable information about preventing, preparing for, and/or responding to emergencies, I simply didn’t have enough storage space on my phone for all of them. In the end I narrowed the list, downloaded the three apps most relevant to my family and location, and reluctantly left the rest behind.

Imagine my excitement then, when the Red Cross released lucky #13: a new, comprehensive, interactive emergency app. I couldn’t wait to check it out, and after having done so, to share with you my thoughts on what Emergency has to offer.

Emergency is an all-inclusive, customizable app, capable of using real-time information to keep you and your loved ones safe. The app combines more than 35 different severe weather and emergency alerts (provided by the National Weather Service/NOAA, the USGS, and FEMA) to help you monitor your location, as well as the locations of your family members and friends, for watches, warnings, and potential hazards. The app also provides access to information on what to do before, during, and after an emergency strikes.

When I first opened the app I was prompted to allow it to monitor my current location for watches and warnings. I liked that the app started here, and that within the first two minutes I had already set up my phone to alert me to potentially dangerous conditions using push notifications.

Next I added the locations – besides where I live – I wanted the app to monitor. 18 months ago my sister and her family lost their home in the Washington, Illinois tornadoes, so it’s important to me to keep tabs on the weather in the cities my family members call home.

When I finished with the Alerts tab and moved to the Prepare tab, I was taken aback by how well the app creators had organized this section’s information. (That is perhaps the greatest compliment someone with OCD tendencies – like me – can give.) The comprehensive list of natural and man-made disasters, arranged alphabetically and each with its own color and image, made it easy to find what I was looking for. When I clicked on each option, I found detailed information on what to do before, during, and after that specific disaster, as well as steps that could be taken ahead of time to lessen the impact of that disaster on my family and home.

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Under the Quizzes tab I found (and took) – you guessed it – a number of short quizzes, each covering one specific disaster. I admit to getting a question wrong here and there, but I liked and appreciated how the app provided me with the correct answers after I’d finished each quiz.

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The Maps tab allowed me to see real-time hurricane tracker, radar, satellite, cloud cover, rain, wind speed, and snow maps, not just for my city and county, but for the entire country. The Maps tab also shows all of the Red Cross shelters currently open across the country.

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Under the Info tab, I could link to all of the other 12 Red Cross apps, change the language in which the app operates, share and rate the app, and take care of other Red Cross-related business. Donating money, setting up an appointment to donate blood, signing up for a course, buying a first aid kit, and/or signing up to volunteer can all be taken care of via Emergency.

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I enjoyed using many of the first 12 Red Cross apps, but Emergency is by far my favorite. I love having the ability to access so much information in one place, appreciate the safety features it offers by way of its many monitoring and alert capabilities, and…it’s free! Download the new Emergency app in the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.

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