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New App Allows Users to Quickly Access Critical Information in an Emergency

American Red Cross

A new emergency app offered by the American Red Cross makes it easier for people to stay safe when disaster strikes.  The app is brand new—the Red Cross began offering it April 24th.  It consolidates several individual apps into one.  Before, Smartphone users had to choose from various disasters such as tornadoes, floods and earthquakes depending on what hazard they were at risk for. 

Luke Bolz, regional volunteer services officer with the Red Cross, said the new app provides users with the same alerts as the old ones and includes some extra features including Family Safe, which allows a person to monitor their location as well as others.

"So, for example, my parents live in St. Louis, and I have their location monitored, and you can actually tie an extra location directly to a contact in your phone and then, when you've tied that, if there's an alert in that area it'll tell you, 'hey, there's an alert where these people live,'" he said.

The feature also allows app users to notify loved ones in an area affected by an emergency or disaster.  The recipient can view alert details and then respond with either “I’m Safe” or “I’m Not Safe.”

The emergency app sounds an alarm on a person’s phone if there’ s a warning in their area and provides them with information.

"You have the ability to immediately look up Red Cross shelters.  It's also going to give you preparedness information and then information on if you--there is a tornado warning or something like that.  It'll tell you, 'ok, here's what you need to do to be safe right now,'" he said.

The app also offers emergency first aid information for situations such as heart attacks and heat-related illness. 

The individual apps will remain active.  Bolz says people with older smartphones won’t be able to use the new app.

The free Red Cross Emergency App can be downloaded here.

Michele Skalicky has worked at KSMU since the station occupied the old white house at National and Grand. She enjoys working on both the announcing side and in news and has been the recipient of statewide and national awards for news reporting. She likes to tell stories that make a difference. Michele enjoys outdoor activities, including hiking, camping and leisurely kayaking.