Red Cross gets technical on tornados with app

Published 8:22 pm Monday, March 4, 2013


When the next tornado comes barreling through the area, some residents might be more prepared than others — depending on how technologically savvy one is.
The American Red Cross unveiled its free Tornado App, available in English or Spanish, for iPhone, iPad, Android smart phone and tablet users. According to a Red Cross press release, even when closed, the app will alert with a high-pitched siren when prompted by a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration tornado warning and provide local, real-time information on what to do before, during and after a tornado.
“Tornadoes often happen in the overnight hours when people are sleeping,” wrote Bill Brent, CEO for the Eastern North Carolina Region of the American Red Cross, in a press release. “The audible alerts in this app can save lives — even if users can’t monitor the weather because they are away from radio, TV or in places where weather band radios may not work.”
The app provides location-based maps of severe weather watches and warnings, enhanced weather maps, emergency checklists and locations of open Red Cross shelters.
The Tornado App makes its appearance during National Severe Weather Preparedness Week and is one of many mobile apps the Red Cross has launched recently.
“The Red Cross has made great strides in putting vital information in the hands of people who need it during emergencies. In fact, our apps are now on more than two million mobile devices across the country,” added Brent.
After Superstorm Sandy, the agency’s Hurricane App provided information on shelters and feeding-site locations, FEMA sites, open gas stations and warming centers to the many people affected by the storm.
The Tornado App, along with the Hurricane App, is available in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for Android.