Released During National Preparedness Month to Raise Awareness
TULSA, Okla. — According to a 2013 national survey conducted by the Ad Council, 60% of Americans say they currently do not have a family emergency plan in case of a natural disaster or other emergency. A new disaster preparedness app Find Me- Tornado Safety has been developed as a Personal Emergency Alert app. Find Me—Tornado Safety is the first ever smartphone app that brings together geographic data and disaster preparedness to locate users following a tornado.
Using Echo Messaging System’s “Job Notification Service,” software architect Tammy Fuller and disaster prevention expert Kim Fuller developed the first consumer smartphone app that provides a user’s contacts with the GPS location once a user has taken shelter during a tornado. The Find Me Alert is issued via text, email, phone message AND as a share on Facebook and Twitter. The Find Me Alerts can be monitored by the contact as well as first responders through most popular web-based mapping software.
Releasing this tool during FEMA’s National Preparedness Month provides families and corporations with an additional tool to help them create an emergency communications plan when much focus is put on personal preparedness.
“There are dozens of good disaster preparedness tools that help people prepare for disaster, but Find Me—Tornado Safety app is the first app that helps people be located after a tornado,” said disaster prevention expert Kim Fuller. “People are already on their phones posting Instagram and Twitter, so we thought that we’d provide a tool that would give ‘followers’ of the user peace-of-mind so that they know that their loved one has taken cover and where they have taken cover. The app also gives the user the peace of mind to take cover and know they will be found.”
The $2.99 app is available starting September 11, 2013 on iTunes (pending approval), Google Play and www.FindMeTornado.com. It’s easy to use. Within a few minutes, users can set up the app in advance with contacts (including at least one outside of the geographic area to serve as a family’s out of state contact as recommended by the American Red Cross Family Communication Plan).
With a few strokes on a smartphone screen, users download the app, register their account, input their contacts, and already have their communications plan in place for an emergency, so all they have to do is initiate the app during an emergency. The Find Me app will help phone lines from getting jammed by family members calling and texting each person in the family to find out if the family member is okay.
Along with her cousin Tammy Fuller, a software architect, former FEMA official under James Lee Witt, Kim Fuller, came up with the concept for the app following the May Oklahoma tornadoes in which 50 people were killed, over 500 injured, and over 100 rescued from the rubble. Media reports stated that many people did not immediately go to a safe place because they either didn’t know where to go or they feared nobody would find them in the rubble.
“With a few swipes of a smart phone screen, users can notify contacts of their last known GPS location as well as be monitored on most popular web-based mapping software. They can even share their status on Facebook and Twitter,” said Tammy Fuller, chief software architect of Echo Messaging Systems. “Find Me’s GeoRSS live data feed publishes live Find Me Alert locations that can be loaded as an overlay in any compatible mapping visualization system, making it ideal for first responders to have real-time verification of locations where people have taken shelter.”
· Ability to Alert a contact list via text, email AND phone call that user has taken cover during tornado and provide GPS location.
· Ability for people to share notifications on Facebook and Twitter
· Emergency Siren and Strobe upon activation for responders to hear/see if individual is incapacitated
· Notifications to contacts are delivered when local communication cell towers and other infrastructure are damaged by using servers not in harm’s way.
Find Me –Tornado Safety App is the first of a series of disaster preparedness applications which will be developed. A National Test of the Find Me application will take place with all users on September 30, 2013, to test the capacity of the app and upon conclusion of that test, Find Me – Hurricane Safety app will be released in time for the first major hurricane of the 2013 Hurricane season. To complete the next phase of Find Me apps, there is an IndieGoGo crowdsourcing campaign at http://igg.me/at/findmetornado/x/99020.