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Red Cross encourages public to download free, lifesaving apps

By Patricia Billinger
Special to The PREVIEW

Last week Colorado observed Severe Weather Awareness Week — a time when Colorado residents and visitors need to be prepared for the dangers inherent from both warmer spring weather and winter-like storms, and the American Red Cross urges people to take simple steps to improve their safety and awareness.

The Red Cross provides a variety of tools and information to aid personal preparedness for severe weather. Among its many resources are mobile apps that put vital information at your fingertips. The American Red Cross apps provide information that can help you plan for, respond to and understand different types of severe weather and scenarios.

The Red Cross now offers 10 free apps, including:

• Tornado App — provides vital safety advice; sounds a siren when a warning is issued for a location monitored by a user, and more.

• Flood App — tells you what to do before, during and after a flood or flash flood; will sound flood and flash flood watches and warning alerts and more.

• Wildfire App – shares information about wildfires, lists local shelters and provides advice for safety before, during and after a wildfire.

• First Aid App — puts expert advice for everyday emergencies in your hand, offering videos, interactive quizzes and simple step-by-step advice. It’s never been easier to know first aid.

Many of the apps include features that can help you create your individual or family preparedness plan and set up the ability to push one-touch notifications out to loved ones about your well-being immediately after a disaster.

In addition to downloading the free apps, people are encouraged to stay informed about the types of threats that are likely in their surroundings and always stay aware of current and impending weather conditions. You should compile an emergency kit for home and work with three days’ worth of supplies and a weather radio. Find out tips and more details about getting prepared at www.redcross.org/prepare/location/home-family.

“Just as it’s important to learn about the types of severe weather in Colorado before they strike, users shouldn’t wait until there’s an emergency to use the mobile apps,” said Bill Fortune, communications specialist for American Red Cross of Colorado. “The apps have shown that they can save lives but the key is to download it before you need it and to learn how to use the features that it provides.”

About the American Red Cross

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or join our blog at coloradoredcross.blogspot.com.

This story was posted on April 24, 2014.