By Jamie Lampros
Wed, 09/26/2012 – 7:42pm
SALT LAKE CITY — All it takes is the lift of a finger and a tap, and presto! You’ve just increased your safety and the safety of your loved ones.
The American Red Cross launched its Earthquake App early Tuesday morning, which puts lifesaving information right at your fingertips. And the best feature of all? It’s free.
“Every person in Utah should have this app,” said Teresa Zundel, director of communications for the American Red Cross Utah Region. “It’s a completely free download. If you have an iPhone, you can get it at the Apple store. If you have an Android, go to Google Play Store.”
Zundel said the reason this app is so important is that in the event of an earthquake, it’s highly possible that family members will be scattered and not all at home together with access to their food storage and other emergency supplies. If you’re in your car or office, you can access the app and find locations of open Red Cross shelters, alert loved ones of your safety status with one simple touch of a button and find which routes are open to lead you to safety.
“The app is full of information about what to do before, during and after an earthquake,” Zundel said. “There’s vital first aid information. For instance, if you tap on ‘bleeding’ it shows you a video of what to do.”
New “Shake Zone Impact Maps” show users personalized local impact information to help them make crucial decisions.
“Residents will receive earthquake notifications and can monitor activity where other family and friends reside,” said Maxine Margaritis, American Red Cross Utah Region CEO. “People who do not live in earthquake-prone areas can have peace of mind knowing you’ll have instant information about loved ones.”
The app will also monitor seismic areas and send you an alert, Zundel said. And even if mobile service has gone down, the app will still allow you to access many of the preloaded features.
In addition, the app has a digital template that allows you to enter contact information, such as telephone numbers of friends and family members. There’s also a feature that will turn your phone into a bright flashlight, strobe light or alarm.
Zundel said it’s also important to talk to children and teenagers about earthquake preparedness and make sure they have access to the app if they have a cellphone. The app also has information about how to care for household pets in the event of an earthquake.
“Look at the emergency supply list and get one ready. Have a 72-hour kit in your office and the trunk of your car and your children’s cars,” Zundel said. “Have vital information written down on paper and put in an easily accessible place. Know your neighbors and their needs.”
Zundel said according to a survey done by the American Red Cross, approximately 10 percent of Americans feel they are ready for a disaster.
“We don’t know when it’s coming, but we know it’s coming. We live in Utah. This is earthquake territory, so we all need to be prepared,” Zundel said. “We need to assume it’s going to happen and take the necessary steps to ensure our safety and well-being.”