The American Red Cross is launching its new Tornado App during National Severe Weather Preparedness Week, March 3-9.
The app puts life-saving information in the hands of people who live in, visit or have loved ones in tornado-prone areas.
The free app—available in English or Spanish—gives iPhone, iPad and Android smart phone and tablet users instant access to local and real-time information so they know what to do before, during and after a tornado.
The app includes a high-pitched siren and “tornado warning!” alert that signals people when a tornado warning has been issued in their area – even if the app is closed. An “all clear!” alert lets users know when a tornado warning has expired or has been cancelled.
“Tornadoes often happen in the overnight hours when people are sleeping,” said Rebecca Nafzinger, Red Cross Community Disaster Education Manager. “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.”
Other features of the app include:
• Location-based NOAA tornado, severe thunderstorm and flood watch and warning alerts
• Enhanced weather maps
• One-touch “I’m safe” messaging that allows users to broadcast reassurance to family and friends that they are out of harm’s way
• Locations of open Red Cross shelters
It also includes simple steps and checklists people can use to create an emergency plan and share it with others. Preloaded content gives users instant access to critical action steps, even without mobile connectivity. Badges users can earn through interactive quizzes and share on social networks.
The Tornado App is the latest in a series of mobile apps created by the Red Cross. There are also Red Cross apps for disasters including hurricanes, earthquakes and wildfires. Red Cross apps now appear on more than two million mobile devices across the country.