“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” This quote comes from Benjamin Franklin and was reiterated by Julia Carroll, a Disaster Services volunteer for the American Red Cross, to describe the importance of prevention. According to Carroll, “The Red Cross weather and safety apps are the first steps in providing that insurance, of sorts that you and your family are doing everything they can to prevent undue harm to their lives or property.” The Red Cross has numerous free apps that are designed to assist, educate, and warn users of potential emergencies. A few of the apps include First Aid App, Blood App, Tornado App, Pet First Aid App, and Monster Guard App. The Red Cross encourages you to download these apps because, as Julia stated, “We can’t predict the future so having these apps previously installed on our mobile devices further insures us against potential harm and loss of limb and life. The first responders in the aftermath of a disaster are NOT who you would expect. They are your family friends, your neighbors, or even random strangers.”
Many times during emergencies and disasters cell towers are affected and electrical service is abruptly interrupted or down. Thus, many services and devices necessary for people to stay alert and communicate are rendered useless. Those in need are unable to access the Internet and search for pertinent information or communicate via the Internet. However, having these apps already installed on their phone can access these lifesaving alerts and expert advice, despite the unfortunate conditions. These apps come with pre-downloaded content, which can be viewed when Wi-Fi is unavailable. In addition, these apps use satellite technology, which provides the user with alerts and information even when Wi-Fi is lacking and cell towers are down. So, for example, you can look up on the First Aid App how to handle a loved one’s medical emergency, while still receiving weather alerts from the Tornado App, during a crisis when Internet is not reachable and medics are not present.
Julia is a big advocate of Red Cross apps because she has used them first hand during a disaster. A few years ago, her husband had mentioned that the local area was under a tornado warning. Being as smart as she is, she decided to download the Red Cross Tornado App. “Within moments after downloading the Red Cross Tornado App, a loud and very obnoxious siren went off on my cell phone. The Red Cross Tornado app warned us that this was NOT a test; a tornado was in close proximity of our home and to take shelter immediately. Within minutes of the alert, our home was completely leveled, but it was those few extra minutes that made all the difference in our recovery.” The app made a difference and saved her life. She wants to pay the favor forward and spread the word about the Red Cross apps. Julia strongly encourages everyone to download the apps and to be prepared for when disasters strike.
The apps can be downloaded for free at the Apple App Store or on Google Play. The full list of apps can be viewed at www.redcross.org/prepare/mobile-apps.
-Ashton Yust, Public Affairs volunteer