American Red Cross Jumps on the Smartphone Craze with New Preparedness Apps
By Daniel Herzmann, American Red Cross AmeriCorps Member
There is excitement once again in the technology world with the release of the iPhone 5 and other new phones like it. Being one of the only poor souls without a smartphone, I am amazed every time I get to look at its many different features. Whenever I get to check out smart phones from my friends or co-workers I am left with one question in mind: what can’t they do? I think it’s also cool when features are actually USEFUL!
September is National Preparedness Month at the Red Cross, so it’s a great time to tell you all about the new preparedness apps we have to share. There are a few of them, and they provide many resources to make sure you and your family and friends are prepared for the next emergency or disaster. These apps are really easy to use and informative.
In recent months, the Red Cross launched the First Aid App, the Hurricane App and just this week, the Earthquake App. First, I’ll tell you about the First Aid App because I believe it provides the most comprehensive base of information for emergency situations. If you’re only going to download one Red Cross preparedness app, this would be the one. Then, you can download the disaster-specific apps if you so desire.
As an “outsider” without internet access on my phone, I automatically assumed the First Aid App would be filled with basic common sense “stop, drop, and roll” chants that have been engrained into most of our heads since kindergarten. I was pleasantly surprised. The app features sections to learn first aid, prepare for various emergencies, what to do DURING an emergency, a section to test your own knowledge base, and a section with updates from the Red Cross. One of the app’s best qualities is that all of the information is presented in a way that’s easy to understand for everyday people and not boggled down by medical “jargon.”
The first section on “learning first aid” gives users an opportunity to learn information for 22 different scenarios, some of which include: asthma, broken bones, burns, bleeding, choking, diabetic emergency, heart attack and head injury. Under each of these situations there are short videos and/or illustrations that make information easy to follow. Each situation is given a brief description and sequential steps to follow. You are also given a button to press that calls 9-1-1 without leaving the app! Each situation also has its own Q&A that is pretty informative.
The “preparing for disasters” section gives information on 20 different scenarios that affect many people at once, for example, chemical spills, flu pandemics and power outages. People might think “how is this information useful to me until after this disaster occurs?” Well, the app gives checklists for before, during, and after the emergencies. You can also check updates yourself about natural disasters in the area.
The “test yourself” section does exactly what it sounds like; it tests your knowledge from the other sections. I particularly like this section because instead of testing for obscure scenarios, it tests your knowledge on more everyday situations such as bleeding, heart attack, burns, and choking. If you complete a quiz on each of these categories it gives you a little achievement badge in the app.
This First Aid App and other preparedness apps from the Red Cross, like the Hurricane App and the Earthquake App, have convinced me to join the 21st century and invest in a smart phone as soon as I can. They’re clearly a success for the Red Cross already; so far, more than 1 million people have downloaded the First Aid and Hurricane Apps. To download any of the Red Cross preparedness apps, go to the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store for Android and search for American Red Cross.
I encourage all of you already on the smartphone bandwagon to download these apps to increase the safety of yourself, friends, and family. For more information, please visit the American Red Cross website.
The American Red Cross is part of the “All Ready” campaign, a unified effort among emergency preparedness experts in the bi-state region that focuses on the importance of individual preparedness. The campaign encourages the three critical steps of preparedness: Make a plan, Get a kit, Be informed.