News Column

American Red Cross Launches Earthquake App

Oct. 15, 2012

Gary Engel, The Woodward News, Okla.

Got an iPhone or Android? The American Red Cross said it has developed a new app that you can used to access earthquake information right from your smartphone or other device.

"This is perfect timing," said Ken Garcia, Communications Director for the Red Cross in the Central and Western Oklahoma Regions.

"It's been nearly a year since the 5.6 magnitude earthquake hit Oklahoma, the strongest on record in the state," Garcia said.

The November 2011 temblor struck about 30 miles east of Oklahoma City, near Prague, causing widespread damage and injuries, he said.

"At least 2 people were hurt and 14 homes were destroyed," he said. "Many others were damaged in the Shawnee and Sparks areas. Parts of U.S. Highway 62 between Meeker and Prague buckled along pre-existing cracks."

The Red Cross earthquake app was introduced to accompany the agency's first aid and hurricane apps, which have each been downloaded more than a million times since being released earlier this year, Garcia said.

"This is part of a national Red Cross effort to help people to be prepared for any disaster," he said. "The app gives instant access to local, real-time information regarding what to do before, during and after an earthquake."

He said those who live outside the earthquake zone may use the app to check on the status of family and friends who live in the stricken area.

"They can have peace of mind knowing that they can receive instant information about their loved ones," said Garcia.

FEATURES OF THE EARTHQUAKE APP

Garcia said the earthquake app can be accessed by going to the Apple App Store or Google Play Store for Android devices and searching for American Red Cross.

The free app features "Shock Zone Impact Maps," which give the users personalized local impact information.

Other features include:

- Earthquake notifications showing epicenter, magnitude and intensity maps.

- A one-touch "I'm safe" messaging feature that allows the users to widely broadcast reassurances via social media outlets.

- Viewing options in English or Spanish.

- Locations of open Red Cross shelters.

- Simple steps and checklists that may be used to create a family emergency plan.

- Information about any post-earthquake happenings, such as widespread fires.

- Badge certification users may earn through interactive quizzes, which they can share on the social networks.



Distributed by MCT Information Services


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Source: (c) 2012 The Woodward News (Woodward, Okla.)


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