The American Red Cross has launched its official Tornado App, putting lifesaving information right in the hands of people who live in, visit or have loved ones in tornado-prone areas.
This 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 NOAA 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 Bev Morlan, regional executive director. "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;
• Simple steps and checklists people can use to create an emergency plan and share it with household members;
• Preloaded content that gives users instant access to critical action steps, even without mobile connectivity;
• Toolkit with flashlight, strobe light and audible alarm;
• Locations of open Red Cross shelters; and
n Badges users can earn through interactive quizzes and share on social networks.
The Tornado App can be found in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for Android by searching for American Red Cross or by going to redcross.org/mobileapps.
Apps can help prepare people for disasters, but they are not a substitute for training. Red Cross First Aid and CPR/AED training empowers people to know how to respond to emergencies in case advanced medical help is delayed.
People can visit redcross.org/takeaclass for course information and to register.
The Red Cross responds to nearly 70,000 disasters each year and we help people get ready to respond to emergencies by providing these apps for free. The Red Cross needs the help of the public to continue this lifesaving effort. People can make a donation to the Red Cross by going to , texting REDCROSS to 90999 or by calling 1-800-REDCROSS.