Disaster? Apps for That!  (videos)

There are lots of “apps” for smartphones that claim to assist in a crisis. Here we look at some, with the assistance of some great video clips and links to the app stores.

Our colleague, Stephen Davies – head of HR for NZ Telecom -got in touch to alert us to a brand new, official Civil Defence app for Auckland, New Zealand was launched yesterday (18 September 2012).

Launched alongside New Zealand’s national “Get Ready Get Thru” programme and Auckland’s text alert service, this app offers both real-time updates on serious incidents in Auckland and a wealth of support information.

New Zealand’s One News channel ran this report on it:

It’s split into four key sections: What to do, Find Support Centres, Who to Contact and How to Prepare. It’s free and available on iphone (download here), Android (download here) and Windows devices (click this on your device).

Stephen’s note got us thinking though…it’s not the only app available for crises and we haven’t covered this in a while.  So here’s a few that you should know about, and the heads up on one in development by the UK government.

For hurricanes and other natural disasters, US readers have at least these four apps available to them:


They also have ReUnite, an Iphone app for uploading and recieving missing persons information after a disaster, the CDC app for real-time information on health related crises, and the American Red Cross app which includes a really useful “I’m safe” function.

There’s also the innovative AlertID.  Again it’s free, but this app provides two-way communication between the public and local emergency services and authorities.  It has provision for sending photographs to local law enforcers and Homeland Security, Homeland Security reporting, a national current event map, and a ‘family wallet’.  AlertID founder, Kelly Wilson commented on the 2012 upgrades:

Life360 allows families and groups to set up private networks.  Activated by any member in a crisis, it shows where every person in the network is and asks them to indicate if they are safe or need help.

life-360 - apps for people safety in a crisis for business continuity planners


And it’s not just apps for supporting you that are out there now.

The UK is using part of a £48.5m budget to develop a ‘master disaster app‘.  It will have functionality to reunite family members, track survivors, train people during a disaster – for example on how to maintain food supplies and carry out first aid.

And in Queensland, Australia, there’s already an app to put out a call for volunteers following a civil incident:


If you have a great app to share, please post it in the comments/discussion area below!

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