Need urgent fire info? There's a Red Cross app for that

Posted at: 10/24/2012 9:23 AM
By: KOB.com staff

On the heels of a major drought and busy wildfire season, the American Red Cross has released a mobile application that puts lifesaving information right in the hands of people who live in or who visit wildfire prone areas.

The free app—available in English or Spanish—is the fourth in a series created by the American Red Cross for use on both iPhone and Android platforms.

The app can be found in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for Android by searching for American Red Cross.

 “The Wildfire App gives New Mexico residents instant access to our ‘Blaze Tracker’ features so they can prepare their households and businesses and make critical decisions that can save lives,” said Rahim Balsara, Interim CEO of the American Red Cross in New Mexico.

This year, the Red Cross has launched 11 wildfire relief operations spanning 10 states.

According to the National Interagency Fire Center, as of October 4, wildfires have burned 8.8 million acres in the United States this year.

The Wildfire App includes: ·

· The “Blaze Tracker” trio of features-which can be customized for alerts specific to locations where they live, travel or have loved ones, including “Blaze Warnings” which let users see areas where NOAA has issued warnings that conditions are favorable for potential wildfires; “Blaze Alerts” inform users when a wildfire has begun within 100 miles of any locations monitored; and “Blaze Path” from Inciweb.org which provides users with a current view of an existing wildfire’s perimeter, how it has spread and the fire’s current location when available

· Comprehensive reporting of all wildfire activity for every geographic area in the United States·

· Options to view the app in English or Spanish based on user language settings; ·

· One touch “I’m safe” messaging that allows users to broadcast reassurance to family and friends via social media outlets that they are out of harm’s way

· Locations of open Red Cross shelters

· Simple steps and checklists people can use to create a family emergency plan

· Preloaded content that gives users instant access to critical action steps, even without mobile connectivity;

· Toolkit with flashlight, strobe light and audible alarm

· Badges users can earn through interactive quizzes and share on social networks.

“The Red Cross has emerged as a leader in mobile preparedness. One reason is our ability to provide users with location customization. Wildfire app users can receive notification of wildfire risk and activity within 100 miles of locations that matter most to them – so they can help protect their loved ones and their property,” Balsara added.