On my next blogs I will give you guys the chance to know more about the global program that I’ve been managing for the past 18 months of my fellowship. These are mobile apps available for iOS and Android devices that intend to build more resilience communities across the world.

Mobile Technology for Preparedness

Since 2013, the GDPC Universal App Program has worked with more than 20 Red Cross/Red Crescent national societies to develop localized multi-hazard apps that increase awareness about various disasters including storms, earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, tornadoes and wildfires.

To ensure that app content is useful to the end users, Red Cross/Red Crescent societies customize each country app to include locally-relevant disasters, as well as identify the most appropriate local disaster data sources to include. The apps then automatically push local alerts to users, combining official government disaster warnings with Red Cross messages informing users what to do in minutes, hours, and days following a disaster notification.

Benefits of the Universal App Program

  • Potential to reach large numbers of users with high quality, easy-to-use, multilingual apps available on iOS and Android platforms.
  • National societies have complete ownership of app content and can use app donation links to mobilize donations.
  • No cost to national societies for app development, release and support.
  • Push notifications allow national societies to send targeted, customized messages to app users in real time.
  • GDPC provides support throughout the app development and release process.

Hazard app features

  • Simple steps and checklists to help prepare for and respond to everyday emergencies
  • Ability to send targeted push notifications to users, incorporating official government alerts with Red Cross “What Now” guidance messages
  • Disaster toolkit that includes a flashlight, an alarm, and a “I’m Safe” messaging feature allowing users to notify friends and family of their location in the event of a disaster
  • Ability for users to personalize the app by linking to social media and filtering alerts to specific locations

As part of the global Red Cross and Red Crescent network, the Global Disaster Preparedness Center (GDPC) is a resource center that promotes innovation in disaster preparedness and supports learning and knowledge sharing amongst disaster preparedness practitioners worldwide. One key aspect of the GDPC’s work is promoting innovative approaches to disaster preparedness, such as creatively using technology. Through the Multi-Hazard App, the GDPC and the Global First Aid Reference Center have created a platform to facilitate the adaptation and localization of mobile applications (apps) with first aid and hazard information, putting life-saving preparedness information directly into people’s hands.