Oklahoma tornadoes and safety apps
One of my first thoughts upon seeing the destruction of the tornadoes in Oklahoma was to wonder if friends and their loved ones in the state were making it through the storms safely. Social media answered my questions about most of them fairly quickly, but communication can be one of the most challenging aspects of a disaster situation.
The top priority, of course, is communication with and between emergency first responders. Then, people want and need to be able to locate and know the status of friends and family. There are a number of phone apps available to assist in this effort – including social media.
Some of the apps focus more on providing information to emergency personnel in case they find you and your phone, others focus on communicating quickly with a variety of people you choose. And still others provide information on helping you provide basic first aid when emergency personnel have not yet reached you.
Safety apps everyone should have
I keep a couple of my favorite apps on my phone and updated. There are several “In Case of Emergency” apps you can choose among based upon your phone platform. My favorite app to update friends and family is Microsoft’s free HelpBridge app which not only allows you to set up custom lists from among your contacts to contact quickly through a variety of platforms simultaneously, but also allows you to donate to a number of disaster recovery organizations easily through the app.
Another of my favorite emergency apps is the American Red Cross First Aid app. The free app not only helps you know how to react to an emergency situation, but gives tips on how to prepare for them and offers tests so that you can assess your preparedness.
Apps such as HelpBridge and the First Aid app are also a good way for you and all of the employees in your company to be better prepared and communicate with one another. With HelpBridge, for instance, you can set up lists to quickly pass emergency information to your employees to instruct them and update them on critical information.
While no app will help in some situations, every bit of preparedness improves your chances of surviving a disaster situation and communicating with those whom you most care about during and after the event.
Note from AG: if you feel called to help, we ask you to donate financially to the reputable organization of your choice, and if you are searching for a missing relative or friend, check Red Cross Safe and Well’s website. Here are some ways to donate – texting is the easiest.
American Red Cross:
- Donate to the Red Cross Disaster Relief fund here
- Donate $10 by text to the Disaster Relief fund by texting “REDCROSS” to 90999 (donation will show up on your phone bill)
- 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767); for Spanish speakers, 1-800-257-7575
- Donate to Catholic Relief Services through Catholic Charities USA
- Donate to the Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief’s website.
- Donate to SalvationArmyUSA.org.
- Text the word STORM to 80888 to make a $10 donation (will show up on your phone bill).
- Call 1-800-SAL-ARMY (1-800-725-2769).
United Way of Central Oklahoma
- Disaster relief fund donations may be made online here.
- For more information: Karla Bradshaw at (405) 523-3534 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- A disaster relief fund is being activated as of May 21 so that individuals can specifically donated to tornado relief-and-recovery efforts, the organization says on its site.
- Donate here to feed locals in their time of need.
- Call 1-800-910-5524.
Convoy of Hope
- Donate to the Emergency Response team online here .
- Donate $10 by texting the word LIVE to 25383.
- Call 1-800-486-HELP.